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Wildcats, Redskins race elevation at J.F. Gregory
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Runners and spectators alike shared in the unique, elevation-enhanced race course designed by RHHS cross country coach Jimmy Hires on Sept. 19.

Using the only hill available in JF Gregory Park, the harriers strode up the grassy "green monster" a few meters from the start and then on the return of the single-looped and challenging 3.1 mile course.

Out of the many area schools that came to the park for the meet, the girls and boys teams of Richmond Hill High School finished first and second respectively.

The Bryan County High School boys placed fourth; the girls were restricted to individual competition as they were two runners shy of entering as a team.

The Richmond Hill girls, defending region champs, showed no signs of slowing down in this meet. In what was a unique and noteworthy team charge to the tape, the Ladycats spotted the St. Vincent’s Academy Saints the first three finishing positions.

As a few of the Wildcat faithful sighed and scratched their heads, wondering where their charges were, suddenly nine Richmond Hill women emerged from the woods and executed their approach to the finish chute. In near unison, the hometown fans roared in approval. The Ladycats proceeded to take the next seven positions to win the meet, 30-38. In spite of the toughened course standard, the women of Richmond Hill all significantly lowered their home course personal best times thanks to challenging weekly training runs and cooler temperatures.

Pacing the Ladycats was freshman Lindsey Vasher in 23:42 and less than 30 seconds behind the top Saint runner. In second place for Richmond Hill was freshman Gini Russell who clocked a personal best of 24:08. She was followed by sophomore Anna Bausum, senior Lauren Hall, freshman Alena Gonzales, freshman Caitlin Uhlig, junior Katie Berry, sophomore Janell Mckinnley and senior Azea Mustafa.

The women harriers of Richmond Hill are on the cusp of a top ten state-ranking. If they continue to train smart and race aggressively, they should soon be recognized state-wide for their efforts as one of the elite teams in Georgia AAA cross-country.

As for the RHHS boys, junior David Cassidy, who raced in "civilian" attire, due to someone stealing his uniform sometime prior to the start, ran a solid 19:24 and finished sixth overall behind five runners from the Benedictine Cadet’s state-ranked team.

Cassidy’s clocking helped the Wildcats finish second out of five teams at the event. Rounding out the top Wildcat runners for the meet, in order of placing, are as follows: Justin Calkins, Will Rhyne, Brett Tuten, Charles Zhu and Chase Feus.

As for BCHS boys, there was a great deal of improvement shown on the course by each of the Redskin runners. Junior Isaiah Foster led the pack for the boys, turning in an impressive finish time of 20:30. Not far behind was junior Kurt Shuman, clocking in at 22:18. Rounding out the front runners for the boys were Tyler Moody and Zach Shinall, who were not far behind.

The girls showed tremendous improvement from prior meets. Only three members strong, Jennifer Waters, Ashley Cobb and Amber Myrick (in order of finish) all avoided the back of the pack by clocking in under 31 minutes – personal bests for each.

"We lost a ton of seniors, so we have a really young team this year," BCHS coach Cindy Bennett said. "They have shown a lot of heart though."

With such a large measure of improvement in this just being their second meet, the Redskins are showing a lot of promise as they look ahead to the rest of the season.Some of the overall results of the multi-school meet included St. Vincent’s placing second in the girls division. Rounding out the boys top teams were Benedictine in first and McIntosh County in third. Next up for both schools will be a meet today at Savannah Country Day, with a 4 p.m. start.

- staff report

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