Southland men’s XC takes 1st in state; women take 3rd
From STAFF REPORTS
ALBANY – The Southland Academy men’s Cross Country team traveled to Albany on Oct. 31 to vie for the GISA AAA State Championship. All of the runners’ hard work over the last year paid off in dividends as team members sped their way to the Raiders’ third consecutive GSA AAA State Championship.
Senior, Wright Calhoun, led the way for the Raiders with a state runner-up finish after a wire-to-wire battle with Trinity’s Jacob Mcleod. Calhoun turned in a time of 15:54.69 over the 5k course, two seconds behind Mcleod, breaking his own school record one final time.
Junior, Billy Calcutt, ran for a personal-best time of 16:40 and finished fourth, with Senior Ridge Roland taking eighth in 17:21. Senior team captain, Brian Miller, came in 14th place, finishing in 18:13. Fifth man, eighth grader Gray Torbert, finished 26th with his personal-best time of 18:48. Senior, Ellis Ivey, was 54th and Sophomore, Zach Calcutt, finished 59th.
After close wins over Augusta Prep and Heritage in 2013, and Trinity of Dublin last year, the Raiders’ latest challenge was to defeat the only GISA team to beat them this season — Trinity Christian of Sharpsburg. When the meet results were posted on the board, Southland was the winner by 30 points over Sharpsburg. Augusta Prep came in third.
Southland lowered its team average to 17:23, more than 15 seconds quicker than last year’s championship team.
Calhoun and Billy Calcutt were named to the All-State Team for the fourth straight year and Roland for the second straight time.
In the women’s race, Deerfield-Windsors’ girls ran for a solid first-place win, led by the team’s 1-2 duo of Virginia Moore and Camryn Bridges. The Lady Raiders were left in a three-way battle, vying against defending champions, Westminster of Augusta, and Atlanta’s Holy Spirit Prep for the runner-up spots.
The Lady Raiders took third with 127 points, 20 points behind runners-up, Westminster, and two points ahead of fourth-place, Holy Spirit. The third place finish is the highest ever for the Southland women’s team.
The Lady Raiders lowered their team average to a record 21:46. Eighth grader, Ryleigh Bell, was the team’s top finisher in 13th place, turning in a personal-best time of 21:07. Freshman, Calyn Fort, came in 22nd, finishing in 21:23, while sophomore team co-captain, Sydney Hayes, took 28th place in 21:47. Sophomore, Alex Exum, finished 29th with a time of 21:59, while junior, Paisley Greene, finished 40th in 22:35 and Sophomore Lilli Dickens came in 57th.
Saturday’s meet capped off a record year for Southland’s cross country program, with all four teams – men’s and women’s, varsity and middle school – finishing in the top three at the state meet.
The teams are coached by Patrick Calcutt and Angie Bell, aided by the special team consultants, Chad Bell, Charlene Pennymon and Bruce Skiles.