By R. Alan Richardson
On a day that brought near-perfect running weather and as many as 14 schools to the Morgan County Cross-Country running course, Jason Wachtel from Mary Persons High School, set a new course record at 16:00.83. If you know anything about the sport, a sub-sixteen minutes over 3.1 miles is flying! The top girls’ runner was Morgan’s own Rylee Bernard. Her 22:00 time led her team to a fourth-place finish overall. The Bulldogs’ top finisher was James Martin with a time of 20:56. MOCO’s boys finished seventh overall in the Rick Boulis Invitational. It was the first home meet of the 2020 season.
The girls’ Coach Erin Spinks talked about the event, “We are so thankful for our parents’ support and willingness to jump in and help us at our home meets. We use them for course directors, water stations, crowd control, information tent, parking crew, timing company assistants, and crowd cheerleaders! They help make our meets run smoothly! Zach Massey was a huge help in leading each race on his bike.” Boys’ Coach Brian Johnson said, “We had a great race. The course was in great shape and the weather was prime for running.”
The JV teams also ran in the event. “Our JV girls ran equally well in their race. Havily Weaver came in first place at 26:12 and Cailyn Berisko took third place with a time of 26:39,” said Spinks.
Morgan’s Middle School Running Dogs also competed in a separate, but shorter version, during the day. Sam Wingfield won the boys’ race with a time of 12:02. Dylan Hawk placed fifth with a time of 13:23 and Larson Detienne placed 15th with a time of 13:59. Overall, the boys scored 51 points to grab the first-place hardware for the day. The girls’ team placed third. Avery Mitchell placed 12th with a time of 16:44 and Jaden Young placed 13th with a time of 16:51. Overall, the girls scored 72 points. Coach Julie Vice told us, “Our MCMS teams did incredible on Saturday. We are so proud of both of our Morgan County Middle School teams! We love having our home race and seeing the fans that come to cheer our teams on. Both the boys and girls are making incredible gains and we are so excited to see how the season continues to unfold!”
Other impressive performances were turned in by Drew Biersmith (14th-24:08) and Ella Ryann Cottrell (15th-24:20) for the girls’ varsity. For the boys’ varsity it was Brandon Lange (21:11) and Tyson Fredrick with a strong 21:40 that led the team.
Spinks finished up her remarks with these comments, “I am so impressed with our girls’ team! They are working hard, setting reachable goals, crushing those goals weekly, working together to build powerful packs, and are like family on and off the team! Our home meet is always a favorite day of mine! I love seeing the community come out and support all our runners! Kona Ice also made an appearance for a nice refreshing treat after the race and a crowd pleaser for all the fans!”
The Dogs will next compete at North Oconee High School on September 3 as they enter the heart of their schedule and prepare for the Region Meet.