The White County High School cross country program will be well-represented at the Class AAAA state meet in a few weeks in Carrollton.
During the Region 7-AAAA meet last Saturday in Atlanta, the Lady Warriors earned a spot in the state meet with a third-place finish, while Eamonn O'Bryant posted a Top 10 peformance in the boys' divison to punch his ticket to the state meet.
For just the second time in several years, the WCHS teams had to venture out of North Georgia to compete in the region event.
The race was held at the Marist School in Atlanta, and the runners not only had to endure the challenges of the 5K course on the Marist campus, but they also had to deal with some rain and cool temperatures.
The Lady Warriors earned a spot in the state meet for the ninth consecutive year with a third-place finish in the girls division. The Lady Warriors finished 11th in 2011, and have finished in the Top 10 the past seven years. The squad finished third three times (2012, 2013, and 2016), was fourth in 2014, fifth in 2017 and 2018, and 10th in 2015.
The program also produced it's only cross country state champion during the nine-year run in Jenna Gearing, who won back-to-back state titles in 2012-13.
Despite being without one of their top runners (Nealeigh Broadwell), the Lady Warriors had no trouble extending their state steak.
Marist won the region title with 28 points, with Blessed Trinity second at 36 points, and White County checking in third with 81 points.
Denmark grabbed the last spot in the state meet, finishing with 112 points to beat out Flowery Branch (135) and Chestatee (160). West Hall did not field a team in the girls' division.
The Lady Warriors had three runners place in the Top 15 – Ellie Gearing, Sydnee Nix, and Lily Gearing.
Ellie Gearing, a senior, has maintained the top spot in the lineup all season and the region race was not different as she turned in a time of 20:18 to finish 13th. Nix was right behind in 14th place with a time of 20:30, and Lily Gearing crossed the finish line next in 15th place with a time of 20:52.
Reese Vandegriff turned in a time of 20:54 to finish 18th, while Josie Stover had a time of 21:01 to finish 21st, Maggie Davidson was 24th at 21:20, and Leah Alexander was 41st at 23:15.
In girls' junior varsity race, Michalla Corcimigilia had the top time of 21:57 to finish 16th overall. Ella Blair had a time of 23:36 to cross the line in 33rd place, and Haylie Bailey was 36th at 23:41. Kyra Lavelle was 58th at 26:14, Lydia Davidson was 63rd at 27:44, and Riley Robinson rounded out the lineup with a time of 30:17 to finish 73rd.
The Warriors had a tough assignment in the boys' race as five of the seven teams were ranked in the final regular season Top 10 poll.
Denmark pulled off the win, putting four runners in the Top 10 to finish with 33 points and run away with the team title. Blessed Trinity was second with 69 points, followed by Chestatee (75) and Marist (87) to earn the final three state spots. Flowery Branch, a state-ranked team throughout the regular season, finished fifth with 103 points, WCHS was sixth with 118 points, and West Hall was seventh with 206 points.
Eamonn O'Bryant earned a spot in the state thanks to a sixth-place finish in the individual standings. O'Bryant, who finished eighth at last year's region meet, turned in a time of 16:42 to put himself in the Top 6 and earn a region medal.
Iyan Windham was just outside the Top 10, finishing 12th with a time of 17:04, while Dominick Stevens was 25th t 17:24. Lance Kelley finished 35th at 18:21, Maverick Aguilar was 40th at 18:49, Kyler Mayo was 44th at 19:35, and Cole Gearing was 48th at 19:57.
In the junior varsity race, Issac Sosebee had a time of 20:42 to finish 54th overall, while Charles Bailey was 56th at 20:57. Dakota Seabolt was 63rd at 21:24, Hector Molina was 66th at 21:37, and Wyatt Churchwell was 86th at 23:13.