All varsity cross country runners advance to regionals

Al Macnaughton, Guest Contributer

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Overcoming injuries, illness, rain and a host of other adversities the G-Men Cross Country team “survived and advanced” at the Southwest District Championship as all Varsity runners moved on to Regionals next week on the same course at Lebanon Primary School.

Girls:

After missing several weeks of practice due to an illness Junior Katie Benson was not sure how she would do in her first race back. Benson left no doubt that she is not only back, but she is BACK! Benson looked like she had never been gone as she cruised to a 3rd place finish in 21:39 on the 5K or 3.1 mile course. Next for the G-Girls was Senior Julia Day who came in 10th with a  23:53. Their performances earned them All Conference Honors, Benson’s 3rd and Day’s 4th. Just missing All Conference Honors was Junior Emma Seay in 16th place with a 25:03. In the last 600 meters, Seay closed a 20-30 meter gap on a Tazewell runner putting 7 seconds on her by the finish. Seay’s efforts put the team into a tie for the 3rd and final Regional Qualifying spot with host school Lebanon. Close behind Seay was Senior Elise Clary 18th 25:40 and Freshman Lauren Pearce 19th in 25:46. Taking 20th was Junior Kara Murphy who dropped almost a minute off her personal best time. When there is a tie in a cross country race the tiebreaker becomes the 6th Varsity runner. For the G-Girls the tiebreaking runner was Murphy who easily beat Lebanon’s 6th runner securing a 3rd place finish for the team and a trip to Regionals! The final varsity position was Freshman Rachel White who ran a great race moving up from the back of the pack to finish 26th in 28:10.

Boys:

The Boy’s race featured a lot of drama as Senior Daniel Pearce decided to go for the win. Battling the home school, Lebanon, top runner who was also a Senior was going to be a challenge for Pearce. Pearce did not back down from the challenge, as he stuck with the Lebanon runner for most of the race eventually taking 3rd in 19:29 on the 5K course. Pearce was not the only G-Man creating drama as Freshman Bryce Havens made it his goal to qualify for the Regional Meet. Havens ran a disciplined race moving up from 29th early in the competition to run down one more runner in the last 200 meters capturing 14th! Pearce and Haven were the 1st and 3rd individually qualifiers for Regionals as well taking home All Conference Medals! Haven’s time of 21:19 was a personal best by almost 1 minute! Incredible!

Congratulate the Cross Country Team as they will compete in the Regional Meet next week with the goal of advancing to the State Meet!