Greenbrier High School’s cross country teams were too tough to handle Thursday night when they played host to the first local meet of the season at Wildwood Park.
With 10 teams competing, the Greenbrier boys team took first place with five of the first six spots and seven of the top-10 in their 5K race while the Lady Wolfpack were first with five top-10 finishes.
While she was pleased with the way her top runners performed, Greenbrier head coach Kati Smallwood was happy that all of her team got a chance to race.
“It was really nice to watch some kids step up that hadn’t yet,” Smallwood said. “The last two races we’ve only taken the top-10 and so it was a good opportunity to see a lot of the JV kids run again ‘cause they haven’t run since we went up to Athens (Aug. 24) and some of them have done some really huge improvements since that last race.”
Wolfpack junior Logan Hughes and senior Jon Townsend started out together, but in the end it was Hughes coming across first in 17:10 with Townsend right behind him in second (17:23) while Evans’ Justin Weegar was third (17:50).
“Logan and I were leading the whole time and then he pulled away from me for the last mile, he had a great finish and I just couldn’t stick with him for that last mile,” said Townsend, who acknowledged that it wasn’t anything new. “He’s been doing that my whole life,”
Wolfpack junior Laura Shillingsburg paced the Lady Wolfpack to victory, finishing in first at 21:48.
“I just started near the front and I just tried to go for time,” Shillingsburg said. “There are some really quick courses out there that are flatter, so this one’s not super hard like state’s, but it’s tougher than it looks.”
The Lady Knights were right on the heels of the Lady Wolfpack as Jackie Ramos (22:45) and Jasmine Stone (23:00) came in second and third, respectively, while Autumn Johnson (24:04) brought home a ninth-place finish.
First-year head coach Lisa Chizmar said the girls are gaining experience each time they race and likes the way they are progressing.
“My girls team is learning how to be a team,” Chizmar said. “I have seven individual good runners who are learning to act like one big team.
‘‘The boys are doing it faster because they already have times that work together and the girls are so spread out that they have to learn to pack up and finish as a team.”
For Ramos, training through the week up to Thursday made the race tougher than it’s been in the past.
“It was more exhausting than usual,” said Ramos...”Every hill felt like a mountain even though there weren’t that many, but it was good.”
Hughes echoed some of the same sentiments as Ramos.
“Overall it was a good race just because we’ve had our hardest week of practice and we’ve had a hard day almost everyday.” said Hughes. “So this is the part of the season where (Coach) Smallwood is trying to break us down so that when we get to the big races in a couple of weeks, we’ll be right on that level we want to be at.”
1. Greenbrier (18); 2. Evans (63); 3. Aquinas (92); 4. Burke County (110); 5. Greene County (131); 6. Richmond Academy (172); 7. Grovetown (202); 8. Thomson (222); 9. Lincoln County (230); 10. Washington-Wilkes (267)
1. Greenbrier (24); 2. Evans (46); 3. Richmond Acdemy (66); 4. Grovetown (101); 5. Thomson (143); 6. Washington-Wilkes (170)
1. Logan Hughes, (Greenbrier), 17:10; 2. Jon Townsend, (Greenbrier), 17:23; 3. Justin Weegar, (Evans), 17:50; 4.John Chaknis, (Greenbrier), 18:13; 5. Spencer Bongiovi, (Greenbrier), 18:25; 6. LaQuentin Brown, (Greenbrier), 18:29; 7. Josh Cooper, (Aquinas), 18:47; 8. Juwan Lamar, (Richmond Academy), 18:54; 9. Jake Watts, (Greenbrier), 19:17; 10. Alex Stewart, (Greenbrier), 19:18.
1. Laura Shillingsburg, (Greenbrier), 21:48; 2. Jackie Ramos, (Evans), 22:45; 3. Jasmine Stone, (Evans), 23:00; 4. Katherine Markowski, (Greenbrier), 23:24; 5. Molly Swartz, (Greenbrier), 23:26; 6. Madi McArthur, (Greenbrier), 23:25; 7. Clay McKnight, (Richmond Academy), 23:42; 8. Madison Malarkey, (Greenbrier), 23:51; 9. Autumn Johnson, (Evans), 24:04; 10. Ivie Teston, (Richmond Academy), 24:25.