Run­ners have break­out day at Ridge Ferry In­vi­ta­tional

The Standard Journal - - LO­CAL SPORTS - By Jeremy Ste­wart jstew­[email protected] RIDGE FERRY IN­VI­TA­TIONAL

For many of the more than 400 var­sity cross coun­try run­ners who ar­rived to Ridge Ferry Park early in pre­vi­ous weeks, the day’s races were the first chance to put their sum­mer train­ing to the test on Aug. 25.

And for the sev­eral lo­cal ath­letes who com­peted in the 27th an­nual Ridge Ferry In­vi­ta­tional, the test showed promis­ing re­sults.

The teams from Rome High School, which hosts the un­of­fi­cial kick­off to the lo­cal cross coun­try sea­son, fin­ished with top-five fin­ishes among the more than 20 schools who par­tic­i­pated. The Lady Wolves placed fourth in the girls’ stand­ings, while the boys were fifth.

Click here for com­plete re­sults from the 27th an­nual Ridge Ferry In­vi­ta­tional

Ar­muchee had a strong show­ing with both of its teams com­ing in eighth in their re­spec­tive stand­ings, while top run­ners Chaney Holder and Chloe Purdy each set new school records in the process.

“I feel re­ally good. I’ve been train­ing all sum­mer for this, so the out­come was pretty good for me,” Holder said. “And the course ran a lit­tle slower than I ex­pected, but it still worked out well for me and the team.”

Holder be­gan his se­nior sea­son fin­ish­ing the 5K with a time of 16 min­utes, 53 sec­onds for sixth place over­all and a per­sonal best. He and his team­mates will be work­ing to both de­fend their Re­gion 7-AA ti­tle and sec­ond­place fin­ish at the Class AA state cham­pi­onships last year.

Purdy, a sopho­more, came in at 20:59 to set her PR and fin­ish 19th over­all. Ar­muchee coach Scott Pierce said he be­lieves both stu­dents are just be­gin­ning to reach their po­ten­tial for this sea­son.

“Chaney ran close to 400 miles this sum­mer, so he’s put the miles in. And Chloe is just a nat­u­ral ath­lete. She can run and she’s in shape. And I think they both can run faster this year,” Pierce said. “I don’t think the course is run­ning as fast as it did last year.”

Rome se­nior Es­dras Real came in just be­hind Holder for sev­enth in the boys’ race, post­ing a time of 16:59 to lead the Wolves. John Finn and Patrick Motes weren’t too far back, as Finn fin­ished 18th with a time of 17:45 and Motes was 21st at 17:49. Rome’s boys won the Re­gion 7-5A ti­tle last year.

For the Lady Wolves, Janet Hart­man and Nora Bai­ley stuck side by side the whole way, with Hart­man sprint­ing ahead of her team­mate in the fi­nal me­ters for 14th and a time of 20:52 while Bai­ley came in at 20:55. The marks were new per­sonal bests for both girls as they work to im­prove on their re­gion run­ner-up fin­ish in 2017.

“The first race of the sea­son causes a lot of adren­a­line be­cause you don’t re­ally know what’s go­ing to hap­pen,” Bai­ley said. “And there’s the fact that the course is re­ally flat and of course we know it re­ally well. So we’re all will­ing to give it our all be­cause we’re pre­pared for that.

“I think there’s also an at­tach­ment to this race be­cause it’s ours, so we want to de­fend our home turf and show ev­ery­body who we are and what we run.”

Ken­ne­saw Moun­tain won the boys’ over­all ti­tle, while Mur­ray County’s Jesse Martinez was the top fin­isher with a time of 16:05. Wood­land’s girls had a dom­i­nant per­for­mance, tak­ing first with a minis­cule 20 points. The Lady Wild­cats’ top four run­ners fin­ished in the top five, in­clud­ing over­all win­ner McKenna Trapheagen, who fin­ished in 18:27.

Jeremy Ste­wart /

Rome High’s Es­dras Real (cen­ter) takes to the course with the rest of the var­sity boys run­ners at the start of the 27th an­nual Ridge Ferry In­vi­ta­tional on Satur­day, Aug. 25, 2018, at Ridge Ferry Park. Real led Rome to a top-five fin­ish.

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