Augusta Preparatory Day School's homecoming festivities showcased a slew of sports activities, but one athlete stole the show.
In the APDS Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Rebekah Madebach posted a time of 18:45 to shatter the course record by 45 seconds. The Augusta Christian School senior is the two-time defending Georgia Independent School Association state cross-country champion, and appears ready to run away with another title this season.
As Madebach crossed the finish line well ahead of the other competitors, she seemed to have energy to spare.
"When you're as fit as she is, you can make it look easy," Augusta Prep coach Mike Burley said. "Rebekah ran what a consider a national-class time. I imagine she's going to become a very highly-recruited runner."
The Augusta Prep homecoming week also featured soccer games and volleyball matches, but those events were eclipsed by cross country. There were 19 schools represented, with more than 350 runners competing in middle-school, junior varsity and varsity races.
Augusta Christian's Rebekah Madebach crosses the finish line in last week's cross country meet. She beat the course record by 45 seconds.
Photo by Mike Howell
Madebach's record run opened some eyes, but the home teams also ran to glory - the Augusta Prep boys and girls varsity squads notched second-place finishes.
"I was very pleased with our teams' performance," Burley said. "We point our kids toward the last three meets of the season, and I think all of our runners set season bests and half had personal bests. To me, that's exciting."
The excitement is not over yet. Augusta Prep and Augusta Christian square off in the Region 3-AAA meet next Monday at Prep, and the county rivals will vie for state honors Oct. 18 in Macon.
Augusta Prep runners Alex Crean, Connor Mahoney and Ryan Kuhar all placed in the top four at Saturday's meet, and lead the Cavaliers into the season's home stretch.
Two years ago, the Cavaliers claimed their first state title in cross country, and the Lady Cavs' duplicated that feat last year. The AC Lady Lions, meanwhile, won state in 2001 and placed second behind Augusta Prep last year.
Rebekah and Sarah Madebach give the Lions a strong one-two punch, but Augusta Prep beat AC in Saturday's showdown, thanks to solid running by Abby Alexander and Adrian Ash.
Though there are several other GISA state contenders, AC coach Beth Harden expects the Lady Lions to be in the hunt.
"As long as they keep working hard, we'll place pretty well," Harden said. "Our fourth and fifth runners have to pick up the pace and come on strong, because it's a team thing. Even if you have two runners up top, you have to have the others doing their job and holding the team together."
The APDS Invitational also was a time to come together for Rick Coffee. The meet was dedicated to the Curtis Baptist School coach, died Monday. Coffee fell ill recently and had lapsed into a coma while hospitalized.
"Rick did so much for the sport," said Augusta Prep athletic director Tom Holodak. "He was always a great helper at meets, even if he had only a couple of kids running. He was a well-loved individual by everyone."
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