Marietta, Walton finish as runners-up at state meet
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
November 11, 2012 01:07 AM | 2034 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta and Walton both came up short in their respective bids for state cross country championships Saturday in Carrollton, instead settling for runner-up honors.

Marietta finished second to Mill Creek (87) with a score of 102 in the boys Class AAAAAA meet, while Walton (99) fell behind Brookwood (65) in the girls race and failed to win a third-straight state title.

Brookwood (124) was third in the boys race, followed by Norcross (129) and Peachtree Ridge (143). Walton (182) was seventh and Wheeler (197) was eighth. North Cobb (304), Harrison (367) and Kennesaw Mountain (435) placed 10th, 13th and 14th, respectively.

“We got second, but that’s not quite what we wanted,” Marietta coach Jack Coleman said. “We ran OK, but Mill Creek ran better. They beat us earlier in the year, and we got them at (the) Coach Wood (Invitational), and they got us (Saturday). We ran a decent race, so it wasn’t really a bad day. (Mill Creek) just took it.”

Marietta’s runner-up finish in the boys race was the highest finish in its program’s history. Ben Pleak (16 minutes, 41.62 seconds) and Jake Bagwell (16:54.32) placed in the top 10 to pace the Blue Devils.

“Ben was fifth and Jake was 10th,” Coleman said. “Second place is the best we’ve ever done at the state meet, so now we just need to build on it. I can’t be upset about second place.”

Wheeler’s Ryan Peck finished 11th in 16:54.91, while Kenan Farmer was Walton’s top runner after crossing the line 13th (16:57.67). Alex Dunlap (17:29.75) placed 35th for Kennesaw Mountain and Onesmus Murungaru (17:42.57) was 42nd for North Cobb. Harrison’s Ryan Brock (17:52.02) was 55th.

On the girls side, Walton held a slight lead over Brookwood — 39-42 —through each team’s first four runners, but the Lady Broncos earned the title after their fifth runner crossed the finish line in 25th place, while Walton’s came in 62nd.

Peachtree Ridge (144), Milton (147) and Mill Creek (241) rounded out the top five in the Class AAAAAA girls race. Harrison was 11th with 297 points, followed by North Cobb (14th, 348), Marietta (15th, 368) and Hillgrove (19th, 405).

Alexa Womack (19:54.60) and Avery Bussjager (20:03.38) finished seventh and ninth, respectively, to lead Walton, while Tyra Holloway placed eighth for North Cobb in 19:54.98.

Claire Warren crossed the finish in 20:59.76 for Hillgrove to finish 31st. Marietta’s Rebecca Dow (21:02.75) was 33rd and Emily Duvaris (21:11.77) of Harrison was 35th.

“I think the girls could have run better than that,” Coleman said. “It’s a big event, and it’s all about being in the moment. Generally, experience matters, and we have a young team”

Pope’s boys team earned a spot on the podium by finishing third in the Class AAAAA race. The Greyhounds scored 142 points and finished behind McIntosh (54) and Flowery Branch (84). Greenbrier (152) and Starr’s Mill (216) rounded out the top five, while Allatoona (379) finished 10th.

Pope’s Patrick Fleming, the Region 7AAAAA champion, finished fourth with a time of 16:57.93. Allatoona’s top runner, Tyler Bellack, came in 55th at 18:25.27.

Emily Dunn’s seventh-place showing (20:20.20) paced Allatoona to 12th in the Class AAAAA girls meet. The Lady Buccaneers scored 338 points, while Dunwoody (86) captured the state title. Lakeside-DeKalb (135), Flowery Branch (153), McIntosh (153) and Lakeside-Evans (207) rounded out the top five.

Ashley Kehoe (21:17.40) and Morgan Laushey (21:26.25) placed 22nd and 28th, respectively, to lead Pope (16th, 412).

Individually, Lassiter teammates Morgan Ainslie (19:53.14) and Marcie Merriman (20:47.39) finished sixth and 21st, respectively, in the Class AAAAAA girls race, while Sprayberry’s Nadia Hawk ran 21:53.88 to place 45th in Class AAAAA.
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