Grangers make run at a title

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

November 10, 2013

The LaGrange High boys’ cross-country team ran step-for-step with Marist on Saturday and came up just short in its quest to win a state championship.

The Grangers had four of the top-10 finishes in the Class AAAA race, but Marist’s overall depth proved to be the difference.

Marist finished with 53 points to out-distance LaGrange, which had 75 points.

Pickens County was a distant third with 136 points, and Perry (230) and Alexander (232) rounded out the top five.

Each team had seven runners, and the top-five finishes counted toward the team total, and the objective was to finish with the lowest point total possible.

The first-place finisher earned one point, the second-place finisher had two points, and so on.

The second-place showing capped a fantastic season for the Grangers, who won the Region 5-AAAA championship and earned a number of other high finishes in some big-time races.

LaGrange High’s girls’ team also had a strong showing at the state meet, with senior Sarah Bearden leading the team to a fifth-place finish.

In the boys’ race, LaGrange senior Andrew Coggins put the cap on a sensational cross-country career with a fourth-place finish with a time of 16 minutes, 47 seconds.

Daniel Navarro of Marist took the top spot with a time of 16:13, and he was followed by Shaw’s Hakeem Mustafa (16:27), Marist’s Michael Thurston (16:39) and Coggins.

LaGrange sophomore Sam Bowie (17:02) was next for LaGrange with a sixth-place finish.

Senior Garrett Cashwell (17:08), who was running his final cross-country race, was ninth, and junior Jonathan Pelham (17:16) was 10th.

LaGrange’s fifth runner was freshman Ben Anderson (18:29), who was 55th.

LaGrange’s final two runners were Will Wooten (19:25) and Gabe White (19:34).

In the girls’ race, Bearden raced to an 11th-place finish with a time of 20:47.

Sophomore Ellie Doerr (21:44) finished 29th, and freshman Alaina Tomlinson (22:04) was 38th.

Junior Violeta Haro-Oropeza (24:02) was 93rd, and junior Colleen Riggs (24:42) was 114th to round out LaGrange’s top five.

LaGrange’s other runners were Audrey Tomlinson (25:12) and freshman Emma Kate Shelton (27:23).

Marist swept the top-two spots and rolled to the team title with 22 points followed by Heritage (98), Chestatee (152), Eagle’s Landing (206) and LaGrange (272).