Winder-Barrow High School and Apalachee High School cross country runners got a taste of quality competition in the first meet of the 2013 season last Saturday.
Both schools competed in the ninth annual Northeast Georgia Championships hosted by Athens Christian School. Winder-Barrow High School freshman Micah Weathers made an immediate impact for the Lady Bulldoggs in her first competiton by finishing third in the Championship Division with an impressive time of 19:44.23. That showing helped the WBHS girls to a seventh place finish in the division.
“We were very excited about Micah’s performance,” said WBHS coach Michael Lofton. “Her time makes her the No. 2 ranked runner in AAAAA this week.”
The freshman was nervous before the race, her coach said, but she settled in once the race started.
“She doesn’t say much, but she’s focused,” Lofton said. “As time goes on, her focus will get even better and she will run even faster times. She is going to be one to watch.”
Other top runners for the WBHS girls included Amber Palermo (18th, 21:18.72), Kiana Perez (42nd, 22:41.47), Sara Carpenter (46th, 23:02.56), Macy Hayes (58th, 23:26.56), Isabell Martin (69th, 23:54.89), Amber Duffy (94th, 24:52.94) and Haley Mewborn (113th, 26:20.06). Carpenter is also a freshman.
The WBHS boys were also seventh in the Championship Division and were led by William Wright’s 34th place finish in 17:57.70. Nelson Lofton was 38th for the Bulldoggs in 18:12.37.
“We entered the Championship Division knowing this was going to be somewhat of a rebuilding year,” Lofton said.
“I am pleased with what we did, but not content. We have a competitive group of boys and many felt they should have had better times. Their competitive spirit will help them.”
Also for the WBHS boys, Tony Rowden was 50th in 18:29.73 followed by teammates Matthew Hackett (58th, 18:41.87), Timothy Villameter (84th, 19:28.90) and Brandon Banks (117th, 20:10.91).
The WBHS boys were second among teams in Region 8-AAAAA, behind only Flowery Branch whom Lofton said is the favorite to win state. The WBHS girls were first among teams in their region.