Saturday morning proved to be epic for north Georgia cross country, as a pair of individuals won state titles in Union’s Zoe Sanchez (back-to-back) and Banks County’s Griffin Stephens.
For the girls, Sanchez was nearly 20 seconds ahead of the next place runner. She led the Union girls to a 9th place finish as a team. Meanwhile, the Banks girls were fourth, led by Destinie Martin (23rd; 23:13). Rabun County’s girls came in 6th as a team, led by Amaranta Melgarejo (17th; 22:53) and Molly Jo Wright (18th; 22:57).
For Stephens, it comes a week after winning his first region title after last year being runner-up in both region and state. Union County’s boys finished as state runner-up, while Stephens’ Banks County team came in fourth.
Stephens’ time of 15:44.15 was just a blink quicker than Bleckley County’s runner-up, who finished with a 15:44.21. Union’s Luke Gambrell came in fourth with a 17:35 time. Hunter Hartzog finished 11th with a 17:55 for the Panthers. Banks County’s other standout was Buck Ledford (20th; 18:30).