Greenbrier's cross country runners remained the county's top squad Saturday with both teams finishing in the top 20 in the Georgia High School Association AAAA State Meet.
Cross country teams from all three AAAA Columbia County schools, Greenbrier, Evans and Lakeside, qualified for the event, which was held in Carrollton, Ga.
"It was a rather hot, muggy day, and the heat took its toll on numerous runners," Evans cross country coach Mike Lennox said.
Despite the race conditions, Greenbrier's girls team showed no signs of slowing down. The Lady Wolfpack finished fifth in the state and recorded the fastest team time and the fastest team average. Senior Bridget Lyons, returning for her senior season after a hip injury last year, took third place overall with a time of 19:43.
Lyons, along with sophomore Chelsea Maxwell, also claimed a share of a Greenbrier school record on Saturday.
Prior to the meet, no two Greenbrier girls had placed fifth or higher at state. Along with Lyons' third place finish, Maxwell took fifth place at 19:53 to put their names in the record books. A third Greenbrier runner, sophomore Emily Cook, contributed with a 12th-place finish.
"Emily Cook ran the race of her life," Greenbrier head coach Katie Smallwood said. "I am incredibly proud of the girls. We were the only school to have three runners in the top 15."
The Wolfpack's boys team entered the meet down a man due to an injury. The team responded with a 16th place finish with Bo Doran placing 40th out of 221 runners with a time of 17:46.
Greenbrier wasn't the only Columbia County team in the running for the state title. Both Evans' boys and girls teams qualified for competition.
The Knights finished 31st out of 32 teams while the Lady Knights took 17th as a team. Evans freshman Elena Hubbard led the way for the girls with a 27th place finish (21:06) out of 211 runners. Scott Hartenstein, Jaytice Washington, and Damian Lamp all finished 190th, 191st and 192nd for the Knights.
Lakeside's girls squad also made the trip to the state meet and finished 27th as a team. Andrea Sisson finished in the top spot for the Lady Panthers at 69th overall.
Three different schools representing Columbia County in the state meet is a step in the right direction for cross country, Smallwood said.
"I have watched the level of competition in high school cross country grow in the past 10 years and hope that it continues," she said. "I would like to see it grow so much that we can begin cross country programs at the middle school level."
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