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Granger runner leaves field behind

LAGRANGE – There was no suspense.

LaGrange High’s Alaina Tomlinson, who is putting the cap on a sensational cross-country career, took the top spot in a race at Lafayette Christian School on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon.

Tomlinson took control early in the 3.1-mile race, and she ended up taking the top spot with a time of 22 minutes, 36 seconds, and that was two minutes better than her closest competitor.

Tomlinson helped LaGrange High take the top team spot as well, with Troup coming in second.

Teams from Lafayette Christian School, Callaway, Henry County, Springwood and Lee Scott also competed.

Tomlinson, a senior who has excelled in cross country since her freshman season, said she wanted to go out fast and seize control from the start, and that’s what happened.

“My plan was to do the first mile fast to get a good lead, and that’s what I did,” Tomlinson said. “I kept a pretty steady pace for the last two miles. Every race you’re supposed to get faster, so I just do my best.”

Tomlinson was coming off a stellar performance in the Carrollton Orthopedic Invitational on Saturday.

Competing on the course where the state meet will be held in November, Tomlinson had a time of 22:29 in that race, and she was right around that same time on Monday.

Tomlinson is following the training plan set forth by coach Brett Bowie, and she’s hoping to be at her best when state comes around.

“He has it set up where you peak (at state),” Tomlinson said.

LaGrange coach Tia Sheffield said Tomlinson, in addition to getting it done on the course, has been a tremendous leader for the less experienced runners.

“Her experience has been so invaluable to the team,” Sheffield said. “She’s been very helpful with the younger runners, figuring out what a certain pace feels like.”

One of those younger runners, sophomore Anna Brovoll, finished second in Tuesday’s race with a time of 24:57.

Next for LaGrange was another sophomore, Nikki Stansbury, who was ninth with a time of 27:59.

LaGrange’s Anna Doerr (28:05) was 10th, and Amanda Thompson (28:38) was 11th.

Other LaGrange runners who placed in the top 20 were Mary Beth Callaway (30:34), who was 15th, and Abby Mazzolini (33:06), who placed 20th.

Leading the way for Troup was sophomore Catherine Leveritt (27:10), who finished in sixth place.

Also earning a top-10 spot for Troup was Monica Cameron (27:53), who was eighth.

Next for Troup was Miranda Ahner (32:00), who was 18th, Mary Claire Finley (33:27) was 22nd, and Abby Barentine (33:43) was 26th.

Troup coach Amber McWhorter said she appreciates the effort of all of the girls on the team.

“I always tell them, you’re going faster than everybody on the couch, and every week you only have to get better than you were last week,” she said. “Just be better than yourself.”

McWhorter added that as the season has gone alone, “we have improved drastically.”

For Lafayette Christian, the host school, the top finisher was sophomore Cate Skipworth (25:31), who placed third.

Also for Lafayette christian, Devon Taylor (31:55) was 17th, and Sydney Brodrick (39:30) finished 30th.

For Callaway, Emily Rowlett (34:01) was 27th.

OF NOTE: For more photos from Tuesday’s race, check out facebook.com/LDNsports

TOP 10

1 – Alaina Tomlinson (LaGrange), 22:36

2 – Anna Brovoll (LaGrange), 24:57

3 – Cate Skipworth (Lafayette Christian), 25:31

4 – Eldriana Eady (Henry County), 25:57

5 – Madelyna Weaver (Lee Scott), 26:23

6 – Catherine Leveritt (Troup), 27:10

7 – Brooke Hilyer (Lee Scott), 27:41

8 – Monica Cameron (Troup), 27:53

9 – Nikki Stansbury (LaGrange), 27:59

10 – Anna Doerr (LaGrange), 28:05

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports

LaGrange’s Alaina Tomlinson sprints toward the finish line during Tuesday’s race at Lafayette Christian School. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/09/web1_running8.jpgLaGrange’s Alaina Tomlinson sprints toward the finish line during Tuesday’s race at Lafayette Christian School. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Lafayette Christian School’s Cate Skipworth was third in Tuesday’s race. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/09/web1_running10.jpgLafayette Christian School’s Cate Skipworth was third in Tuesday’s race. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Catherine Leveritt was Troup’s top finisher in in sixth place. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/09/web1_running11.jpgCatherine Leveritt was Troup’s top finisher in in sixth place. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

LaGrange’s Anna Brovoll was the second-place finisher in Tuesday’s race. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/09/web1_running12.jpgLaGrange’s Anna Brovoll was the second-place finisher in Tuesday’s race. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Tomlinson claims top spot in cross-country race

By Kevin Eckleberry

keckleberry@civitasmedia.com