ACWORTH — Samantha McGarity continues to build a lasting legacy as a runner at Harrison.
After winning the Class AAAAAAA and Cobb County cross country championships last fall, followed by the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the track and field state championships in the spring, the junior added to her list of accomplishments with another individual county cross country championship last weekend.
McGarity said she started to pull away from the pack after the first mile at Allatoona Creek Park and ran a time of 18 minutes, 21.87 seconds. It was 24 seconds better than runner-up Maddie Jones from Marietta, and more than 18 seconds faster than McGarity’s state championship-winning effort last year.
McGarity said she had a strategy that she put into effect in the race.
“We did a 2-miler here (earlier in the season). and I was trying to go slower than that,” she said, “but the 3-mile, you’ve got to stay mentally prepared for that next lap, and I felt good about that. I’ve been preparing for that and it paid off.”
McGarity has found nearly unprecedented success as a runner, entering only her third season. A former softball player who was running to remain in condition for the diamond, she decided to run full-time her freshman year, and her initial failures helped spur her to be better.
“My freshman year, I was at state for track and I got beat hard,” McGarity said. “It tore me down, but it also built me up a little bit because I said, ‘That’s not going to happen again.’ I really found a passion for it. I really found a love for (running).”
McGarity will return to competition Saturday when she competes at the Wingfoot Invite in Cartersville.
From there, she plans to continue working to get better. Her recruiting is just beginning, and while she plans to continue her running at the next level, she has not committed to any college program yet.