Bearden races to region title

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

October 30, 2013

Sarah Bearden has another notch on her belt.

The LaGrange High cross-country standout has won numerous races over the years, and she’s having a sensational season.

That season got a little bit better on Wednesday when Bearden, a senior, raced to the Region 5-AAAA championship in Douglas County.

Bearden posted a time of 19 minutes, 23 seconds, to beat second-place finisher Chloe Camp of Alexander by more than 30 seconds.

Bearden’s performance helped LaGrange finish third in the team standings, which is good enough to secure a spot in the state meet that will be held in Carrollton on Nov. 9.

“To have the girls qualify was big,” LaGrange coach Brad Wilson said. “That’s a strong region for the girls.”

Alexander had four of the top-10 finishers to claim the top spot, and Columbus was second followed by LaGrange and Carrollton.

All four teams are headed to state.

Ellie Doerr (21:01) was LaGrange’s second finisher, and she finished 11th.

Just behind Doerr in 12th place was LaGrange’s Alaina Tomlinson (21:03).

Next up was Violeta Haro-Oropeza (23:21) in 25th place, and Colleen Riggs (23:34) was 27th.

Rounding out the LaGrange lineup were Audrey Tomlinson (25:36) and Emma Kate Shelton (26:08), who finished 41st and 42nd, respectively.

Three of those runners are freshmen, and one is a sophomore.

Wilson said the freshmen “have really stepped up and provided some depth for us. And Ellie continues to get better each year. I can’t wait to see what she does the next two years.”

As for Bearden, she had a terrific junior season that included a second-place finish at region, and a sixth-place finish at state.

As good as Bearden was a year ago, Wilson said she committed herself to running even faster as a senior.

Wilson said Bearden and Andrew Coggins, a LaGrange senior who finished second in the boys’ race, have both seen their hard work pay off.

Bearden and Coggins both set school records earlier this season.

“He and Sarah both had a great summer of training. They came into the fall ready to go,” Wilson said. “I’m so proud of both of them that neither one of them settled. Both of them constantly want to get better.”