Al­li­son Craft, Her­itage Lady Gen­er­als win Re­gion 6-AAAA XC ti­tles

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By Scott Herpst sherpst@npco.com

Last year, as a fresh­man, Al­li­son Craft fin­ished fifth at the Re­gion 6-AAAA Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships at Edwards Park in Dal­ton.

On Tues­day, one year later, fifth place sim­ply wasn’t go­ing to cut it.

The Her­itage sopho­more bolted out to the lead right from the start­ing line, quickly put some dis­tance be­tween her­self and the rest of the field and never looked back as she clocked in at 20:48 - her sec­ond-fastest time of the sea­son - and won her first re­gion cham­pi­onship by 50 sec­onds over Gilmer’s Naomi Coombs.

“It feels re­ally good,” Craft said. “Com­ing here last year and get­ting fifth, to­day was a good step up from that. My par­ents we’re re­ally push­ing for it the whole year. They told me if I just worked hard all year that I could get first. I just had to be­lieve it.”

“Al­li­son has been pretty dom­i­nant all sea­son in the league and look­ing at her times, we knew she could do it,” Her­itage head coach Jeremy Wynne said. “There were a cou­ple of other girls in strik­ing dis­tance, based on their times, but once they got to that first mile (marker), I knew no­body was catch­ing her.”

Craft was one of three Lady Gen­er­als in the top nine and one of five in the top 15 as they cap­tured the re­gion ti­tle with 47 points. North­west Whit­field (63) edged out Gilmer (64) for the run­ner-up spot, while South­east Whit­field (84) picked up the fourth and fi­nal state berth. Pick­ens (115), Ridge­land (147) and Lafayette (170) rounded out the field.

“We came up short last year, so we just tried to re­group and get our girls ready for this year, men­tally, emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally,” Wynne added. “They all stepped up to­day. Not ev­ery­one ran their best race, but we had a cou­ple that filled in the gaps. It was a good day and I’m re­ally proud of them.”

Craft was joined on the Al­lRe­gion first team by team­mates Kalei Howard (23:05, eighth place) and Lilly Black (23:13, ninth place), while sec­ond team hon­ors were picked up by Lucy Hicks (23:43, 14th) and Skye Remko (23:47, 15th). The rest of the lineup in­cluded Emma Ten­nyson (24:33) and Mor­gan Easley (24:46).

Ma­cie Boren was the top fin­isher for Ridge­land with a 24:42, while Mary Scott (25:46), Syd­ney Finch (26:12), Trin­ity Deane (26:13) and Emily Scott (26:35) also com­peted for the Lady Pan­thers.

Lafayette was paced by Hannah Dear­ing’s 18th place fin­ish (24:11). Also rac­ing for the Lady Ram­blers was Hope Mcclure (25:53), Natalie Ball (26:44), Cait­lyn Wat­son (28:02), Bianca Rogers (34:11) and Eliz­a­beth Perkins (35:35).

The Her­itage boys could not match their fe­male coun- ter­parts with a re­gion crown, but the Gen­er­als’ 59 points were good enough for the run­ner-up tro­phy. Pick­ens (42) claimed the top spot with Gilmer (71) and South­east

The Her­itage Lady Gen­er­als cross coun­try team won the Re­gion 6- AAAA ti­tle at Edwards Park in Dal­ton last Tues­day and will head to Car­roll­ton this Satur­day for the Class AAAA state meet.Her­itage sopho­more Al­li­son Craft (cen­ter) leads the field off the start­ing line dur­ing the 6- AAAA cham­pi­onships last week. Craft won the girls’ in­di­vid­ual ti­tle with a time of 20:48.

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