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Augusta Prep takes state cross country title again

Posted: November 6, 2011 - 12:05am
The Augusta Prep girls cross country team won the GISA Class AAA state title for the second consecutive year. Team members are Sydney Isaac (front, from left), Amanda Murphy and Jodie Holodak; Alexis Baker (back, from left), Charlotte McDonough, Maggie McLeod, Mati Gibbs and Megan Siegler. Augusta Prep defeated runner-up Holy Spirit by 17 points.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Augusta Prep girls cross country team won the GISA Class AAA state title for the second consecutive year. Team members are Sydney Isaac (front, from left), Amanda Murphy and Jodie Holodak; Alexis Baker (back, from left), Charlotte McDonough, Maggie McLeod, Mati Gibbs and Megan Siegler. Augusta Prep defeated runner-up Holy Spirit by 17 points.

Once Amanda Murphy had crossed the finish line for her second consecutive state cross country title, she tried to recover as quickly as possible.

Her work wasn’t quite finished.

“Once I got my water and once I was able to breathe, once my lungs weren’t hurting,” the Augusta Prep junior said, “I tried to wait for some people and try to cheer them on as much as I could.”

Murphy admits that she leaves the in-race math up to coach Tom Holodak, who quickly calculates how the team is fairing.

When she saw her coach break out into a wide grin, she knew that hers wouldn’t be the team’s only championship at the meet.

Murphy’s first-place finish and the team’s depth helped Augusta Prep’s girls squad to its second consecutive state title at the Oct. 29 GISA State Cross Country Championships in Macon.

Augusta Prep’s boys team finished runner-up to Mount de Sales for its fourth second-place finish in five years.

“It feels awesome,” said Murphy, who was runner-up at state in her eighth- and ninth-grade years. “I knew I would try to do my best and try to do well, but the team … everyone running well and getting us another state championship is just an amazing feeling.”

With 47 points, Augusta Prep held off Holy Spirit Prep by 17 points.

Murphy finished in 19 minutes, 47 seconds. Jodie Holodak (fifth in 21:09) and Maggie McLeod (sixth in 21:13) also had top-10 finshes.

Sydney Isaac was 13th and Mati Gibbs 24th to finish out the scoring times. Meanwhile, Alexis Baker in 25th and Megan Seigler in 34th helped take spots away from other teams’ runners, increasing those teams’ totals.

McLeod, the lone senior on the team, closes her high school career with three state titles.

“It meant more as a senior than it did as a freshman,” she noted. “I didn’t understand
it as a freshman.”

McLeod mentioned team-building as something that helped along the way.

“Right from the beginning, in the third week of May, we had a week of spring practice,” Tom Holodak said.

“I told them right then that there’s going to be a big bull’s-eye on our back, so you have to make sure that you do the training over the summer.

“As anybody knows, at any level, it’s hard to repeat.”

In the boys competition, Mount de Sales won its third consecutive state title in runaway fashion.

The Cavaliers avenged recent defeats to Westminster and Tiftarea to earn a runner-up finish.

“It was close,” Holodak said. “In a way, they might’ve been more motivated, having lost by three points to Westminster for the region title.”

In addition, Augusta Prep had lost to Tiftarea the week before region.

On this day, the Cavaliers finished with 104 points to edge Tiftarea (112) and Westminster (129).

John Earwood had the team’s top performance: 18:48 for 10th place.

Eric Brown was 12th in 18:54, followed by Mark Tisler in 15th at 19:00.

Khalid Elchoufi was 28th, Brad Daitch 39th, Mark Abdelsayed 45th and Ben Guthrie 52nd.

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