Cougar runner leaves field behind

Published 11:53 pm Monday, October 16, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – It didn’t take long for Michael Loutzenheiser to separate himself from the pack.

As the competitors prepared for the start of Monday’s cross-country race at Lafayette Christian School, Loutzenheiser was one of dozens of men from a host of different schools getting ready to attack the 3.1-mile course.

As the race got under way, it became evident that Loutzenheiser, a senior runner at Lafayette Christian School, would be running by his lonesome.

Not long into the race, Loutzenheiser was by himself, and he crossed the finish line more than a minute ahead of his next closest competitor.

“I was kind of surprised, because I’m not a real fast starter,” Loutzenheiser said. “But I just kind of found myself at the beginning at the front, and just sort of broke away from there and kept the pace high.”

Loutzenheiser, who has enjoyed an exceptional high-school running career that includes a state championship in the Georgia Indepedendent Christian Athletic Association, completed Monday’s race in a time of 17 minutes, 45 seconds.

Finishing second was DeMarcus Boulware (19:01), who helped Jordan win the team championship.

LaGrange, which won the county championship two weeks ago, competed in Monday’s meet, although only the junior-varsity runners were there.

LaGrange’s top finisher was sophomore Alex Martin (20:10), who placed sixth.

LaGrange coach Chase Wilson felt it was more beneficial to stick to the training plan with the Region 5-AAAA meet coming up next week, so he held his top seven runners out on Monday.

Wilson said Monday’s race was a positive experience for his other runners.

“It kind of gives them a chance to run a meaningful, competitive race,” Wilson said.

Callaway’s top finisher was Calik Kemp (20:10), who was seventh, and Troup’s Christian Gay (20:13) and Ryan Fuller (20:23) were eighth and 10th, respectively.

For Loutzenheiser, it was the second-to-last cross-country meet of his high-school career.

On Saturday, Loutzenheiser and his Lafayette Christian teammates will participate in the GICAA regional meet, with the top finishers moving on to the state finals.

Loutzenheiser won’t be able to participate in the state finals because it conflicts with a major triathlon that’s going on at the same time in Hawaii, and that’s where he’ll be.

Loutzenheiser enjoyed Monday’s race because it gave him an opportunity to see some different schools.

“It was a very fun race, and it was cool having some of the other public schools here that I hadn’t raced against,” he said.

Loutzenheiser’s teammate, Jacob Rocker (21:04), finished 17th on Monday, Cade Parnell (22:06) was 31st.

For Troup, while Gay and Fuller delivered top-10 finishes, Lawson Lynd (20:41) finished 15th, Tyler Meadows (21:39) was 26th, Parker Stover (21:57) was 29th, and Cole Young (22:26) placed 33rd.

Kemp paced Callaway with his seventh-place finish, Ian Daughtery (21:13) was 20th, Matthew Freeman (23:36) finished 43rd, Jayvon Nunley (24:36) was 49th, Hayden Taylor (24:39) was 51st, Coleman Arrington (25:00) finished 56th, Joshua Nunley (26:59) placed 64th, and Evan Thompson (30:09) was 73rd.

For LaGrange, it was Martin pacing his team with his sixth-place finish, and Chase Arrington (20:29) was next in 13th place.

Tyler Barth (20:37) was 14th, Aaron Fritchley (21:12) finished 19th, Ethan Sims (21:22) placed 23rd, Nathan Fritchley (21:45) was 27th, James Burgos (22:36) was 34th, Michael Ramirez (23:13) was 38th, Carter Crites (23:32) finished 41st, Carson Crocker (23:50) was 45th, Fuzzy Pavon (23:59) was 46th, and Drew Bateman (25:25) and Alex Brock (26:11) were 59th and 60th, respectively.

LaGrange’s top seven runners will get back at it for the region meet in Douglas County on Sept. 26.

LaGrange’s boys’ team will be one of the favorites to win the team title along with Chapel Hill.

In the Atlanta Classic on Saturday, that was held at the location of next week’s region meet, LaGrange finished ahead of Chapel Hill.

Joshua Turman (16:45) finished 11th in that race, and Alex Bowie (17:00) was 18th.

LaGrange’s next five runners were John McDonald (17:28), Cameron Thomas (17:53), Logan Lopez (17:54) and Donta Dunson (18:30).