Greater Rome teams make his­toric show­ing at state meet

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - RN-T Sports Edi­tor Rock­mart’s Al­lie Sproull reaches the top of a hill dur­ing the Class AA girls’ state cross coun­try championships. Sproull fin­ished sev­enth over­all.

CAR­ROLL­TON — The tough and tum­ble state cham­pi­onship course where many run­ners have been de­feated was a place of ac­com­plish­ment and cheers for the group of lo­cal ath­letes who raced its 3.1-mile course Satur­day morn­ing.

Over the space of an hour and a half, the top teams from Re­gion 7-AA made their mark on com­pe­ti­tion from around the state as four run­ners earned top 10 in­di­vid­ual fin­ishes and four teams fin­ished in the top four of their divi­sion’s fi­nal stand­ings at the Class AA state cross coun­try championships in Car­roll­ton.

Ar­muchee’s boys’ team earned the high­est honor of all Greater Rome teams by fin­ish­ing as the state run­ner- up, while the Ar­muchee girls were able to push at the end and take fourth in their race.

“We’re ex­cited. Our goal was to get two teams on the podium, and the best an Ar­muchee team has ever done is fourth,” Ar­muchee coach Scott Pierce said. “The girls equaled that and the guys had the high­est fin­ish of any Ar­muchee team ever.

“We’ve got a lot of young kids and most ev­ery­body back next year, so we hope to make an even big­ger splash next year.”

The In­di­ans scored 111 points and had their top five run­ners fin­ish in the first 31 spots to stake their claim to a top-two fin­ish in the team standi ngs. Chaney Holder paced the Floyd County team with a time of 17:42 to take sixth over­all in the field of more than 200 ath­letes.

Pep­perell’s Ed­win Chavez fin­ished in 10th place with a time of 18:00 and led the way for the Dragons as they edged Toombs County for fourth place in the fi­nal stand­ings, 187-189.

“We’ve never placed on the podium be­fore so this is thrilling for th­ese kids and for me too,” Pep­perell coach Michael Watson said. “They’ve put in so much work and been so con­sis­tent through­out this whole sea­son.”

The girls’ race fea­tured a show­down be­tween the top two 7-AA teams as re­gion cham­pion Ar­muchee and run­ner- up Rock­mart worked to keep pace with each other. In the end, the Lady Jack­ets man­aged to stay ahead of Ar­muchee’s run­ners just enough to fin­ish third and get on the podium as well.

“We wanted to go out and ex­e­cute our plan. I think the coaches came up with a great plan for them,” Rock­mart coach Adam Blalock s aid. “They did great. They ex­e­cuted very well, ran to­gether, and plac­ing third is well be­yond what we could have imag­ined at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.”

Al­lie Sproull fin­ished first for Rock­mart with a time of 22:21, claim­ing sev­enth place over­all. The se­nior stayed with the front pack the en­tire race, even mov­ing into sec­ond early on be­fore fall­ing back a few spots.

“We hoped that they would run in a group be­cause they had been do­ing that all sea­son long and they were de­ter­mined to come down here, es­pe­cially our two se­niors, and do some­thing for the school,” Rock­mart coach Dar­rell Lee said.

“They looked strong from the be­gin­ning and were able to hold it to­gether. We’re thrilled. We be­lieved they could do it all along and they showed up to­day.”

Chloe Purdy, the fresh­man top run­ner for the Lady In­di­ans, fin­ished just be­hind Sproull with a time of 22:26 for eighth over­all. She capped her first year of run­ning cross coun­try with a top 10 fin­ish at state.

“Chloe, she was a gift this year,” Pierce said. “I picked her up out of my class. I knew her fam­ily and that she had run­ners in her his­tory. I talked her into it, and she has a knack for it. She’s a good run­ner.”

The surge by l ocal teams at the state meet was a con­fir­ma­tion of just how com­pet­i­tive Re­gion 7-AA is for Watson.

“I think that our re­gion is get­ting very much more chal­leng­ing,” he said. “It shows that we are just as com­pet­i­tive as any­body.”

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