Area Girls Cross Country
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Area Girls Cross Country

RUNNER OF THE YEAR

MADALYN GARLAND

The Rhea County sophomore won the Region 3-AAA meet and finished second in three races. Her 11th-place finish in the Class AAA state tournament gave her all-state honors, and both the region title and the all-state finish were firsts for a Lady Eagles runner. Not too bad for a girl who chose volleyball over cross country as a freshman. “She’s the type of girl that if you tell her she can’t, she’s going to show you she can,” Rhea coach Steffan Holder said. “We set goals at the beginning of the year, but she surpassed all of them. “I hope she continues to improve.”

COACH OF THE YEAR

STEFFAN HOLDER

Sometimes a team performs best when it has to deal with adversity. Rhea County’s eighth-year coach and his Lady Golden Eagles were dealt a blow when sisters Gloria and Lorena Pascual were injured in a car accident and unavailable late in the season. The team banded together and finished second in the Region 3-AAA meet and advanced to the program’s first state tournament. “The girls understood that we needed someone to take their place,” Holder said, noting he installed a “No Excuses” mentality before the state meet. “The sisters told the team to strive for state — they didn’t want pity for what had happened — and the girls were determined and did an exceptional job. “It was one of the most gratifying seasons I’ve been a part of — very special. The girls were determined to succeed.”

FIRST TEAM

Beka Day

CLEVELAND

Sophomore

The diminutive Day was fourth in both the Jesse Owens Classic and the Region 3-AAA meet.

Dianna Eddington

MCMINN CENTRAL

Senior

The Mississippi State signee won Region 3-A/AA and was all-state for the fourth consecutive year.

Mallory Edwards

HERITAGE

Freshman

She was fourth in the Region 7-AAA meet and ninth in the Georgia Class AAA state championships.

Moriah Edwards

HERITAGE

Sophomore

She placed sixth in the Georgia Region 7-AAA meet and was an all-league representative.

Bekah Houston

DALTON

Sophomore

She won the Georgia Region 7-AAA championship and placed 15th in the state meet.

Camilla Loggins

GORDON LEE

Junior

She won the Georgia Region 6-A championship and was an all-league performer.

Keeley Stewart

ST. ANDREW’S SEWANEE

Senior

A two-time state champion, she placed fourth in this year’s Division II-A state meet.

SECOND TEAM

KIERSTYNN CONLEY Rhea County Freshman

NATALIE ESPINOZA-HENSLEY Heritage Freshman

CARINA NIETO Dalton Senior

BRANDI THOMPSON Heritage Junior

HALEY WARD McMinn County Sophomore

NATALIE WILLIAMS Northwest Whitfield Sophomore

SHELBY WILSON Northwest Whitfield Sophomore

TEAMS OF THE YEAR

1 HERITAGE

The Lady Generals finished second in the Georgia Region 7-AAA meet and were the Chattanooga Cross Country League Team of the Year.

2 POLK COUNTY

The Wildkittens won the Region 3-A/AA championship.

3 RHEA COUNTY

The Lady Eagles were runners-up in Region 3-AAA despite losing two key runners late in the season.

Photos by Allison Carter, Laura-Chase McGehee and John Rawlston. Text by Gene Henley. Layout by Stacey Wysong.