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Local teams flex muscles with first cross country state rankings

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Crump Tall GIF 2018GA Milesplit released its first state rankings in cross country for each classification. With those rankings comes the realization of something we already knew – North Georgia teams OWN the sport.

Here are the locals who made it in the top-10 of their respective classifications (in alpha order):

BANKS COUNTY

Girls – #10

Boys #6

The girls were state runner-up last year and did lose quite a bit from that team. They finished 9th at the War Eagle Invitational. The reigning region champs have placed 3rd or better every year since 2014 in 8-AA, and prior to 2017’s state runner-up team, also finished 6th in 2016, 13th in 2015 and 8th in 2014.

The boys feature Griffin Stephens as the new leader after losing 3 of their 5 from the state title team last year. They finished 9th at the War Eagle Invitational, and were state champions last year, runner-up in 2016, 6th in 2015 and 8th in 2014. They’ve also won back-to-back region titles.

COMMERCE

Girls – #9

Boys – #5

The girls are led by Natalie Pascucelli, and will have to figure out how to win without long-time great Kate Massey who graduated in May. The girls were 5th in state last year, and runner-up each year from 2014 to 2016, as well as 3rd in 2013. They won a pair of area titles in 2015-16.

The boys team was 4th at state last year, 6th in 2016, 11th in 2015, 5th in 2014, 3rd in 2013 and 6th in 2012. They’ve finished 2nd or 3rd every year since 2012 in area. This year their leader is JJ Morris, along with Oscar Diaz, Josh Zelaya and Jamie Patton.

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DAWSON COUNTY

Girls – #8

Boys – #6

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The Dawson boys finished 2nd at the 15th Annual War Eagle Invitational. They finished as state runner-up last year and as 7-AAA Region Champs for the third straight season. Dawson’s boys, aside from last year’s runner-up finish at state, were 4th in 2016, 10th in 2015 and 9th in 2014. The boys are led by Cody Wood, Ben McGinnis, Wiley Dennis and Luke Hamby.

The girls, fresh off last year’s 6th place finish at state and runner-up in Region 7-AAA, came in third at the War Eagle Invitational. The girls won three straight region titles from 2014-2016 and were 6th at state in 2017, 5th in 2016, 4th in 2015 and 5th in 2014. The girls are led by Frankie Muldoon (BLITZ Cross Country Runner of the Year) and Jenna Lecours, as well as Molly Muenchen and Avery Young.

JEFFERSON

Girls – #7

Boys – #5

The girls debut at #7, and are led by Caitlin Schroeder, Katherine Law and Madison Chisholm. They finished as champions at the Athens Academy Invitational.

The Jefferson boys show in at 5th in the rankings after a 1st place finish at the Athens Academy Invitational. The girls debut at #7 after also taking the top spot at the same meet. The boys are led by Riley Thoenton, Levi Holiday and Matthew Schroeder.

UNION COUNTY

Girls – #3

Boys – #2

The Union girls return Zoe Sanchez, a legit title contender who has a couple/few solid teammates to help support her. They finished 5th at the War Eagle Invitational, and last year finished 13th at state. They’ve been in the state rankings every year since 2012.

The boys, who finished 8th at state a year ago, have now been ranked every season since 2013. They feature Luke Gambrell as the successor to Lance Underwood (former BLITZ Cross Country Runner of the Year). This is a state title team if they stay healthy.

WHITE COUNTY

Girls – #5

Boys – #6

The girls came in 5th last year at state, and here’s the legacy of state finishes over the past 7 years: 2017-5th, 2016-3rd, 2015-10th, 2014-4th, 2013-3rd, 2012-3rd, 2011-11th. They came in 14th at their opening meet at the Berry Clara Bowl Invitational. Jaelen Alexander leads the girls, as well as Ellie Gearing and Addie Bolton.

The White County boys are 6th after coming in 12th in the Berry Clara Bowl Invitational. The Warriors reached new heights in 2017 with a 6th place finish at state, their all-time best. The boys are led by Eamonn O’Bryant, Tyler Kinson and Jovani Gonzalez to name a few.

Feature Photo by Wendy McGinnis

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