The Calhoun and Sonoraville cross country teams got a chance to see what lies ahead in a few weeks at the Region 6-AAA Meet as they took part in the Region Preview on Tuesday afternoon at the Resaca Battlefield, and both have reason to be encouraged by what they saw.
The Calhoun boys led the way for local performances as they placed five runners in the top 15 even after one of their top runners went down with an injury to earn a first-place finish in the team standings with a score of 54. They finished ahead of Coahulla Creek (62), Murray County (72) and Sonoraville (79) in the seven-team meet.
The Jackets were led by Brody Blalock who ran an 18:34 to finish fourth individually. Julio Lopez was the second Calhoun runner in the top 10 as he took 10th with a 19:33. Completing the scoring for the Jackets was Jonathan Santana in 12th (19:49), Mario Marroquin in 13th (19:56) and Francisco Pena in 15th (20:07). The five scoring runners stepped up to overcome an injury to Felipe Barrios, one of the Jackets’ top runners who was unable to complete the race due to an injury.
The Calhoun Lady Jackets was the runner-up in the team totals in the girls meet as they finished with 52 points to take second behind Coahulla Creek (35). Mari Morales led the charge with a second-place finish individually with a time of 23:25. Emily Driscoll also had a strong performance to take 10th with a time of 25:00. Ashley Jaramillo (12th, 25:19), Adamariz Perez (13th, 25:41) and Theresa Nguyen (15th, 25:59) rounded out the team scoring.
Calhoun coach Justin Lindsey said he was pleased with how things went and how his teams performed on the same course they will see for the Region 6-AAA Meet on Oct. 24.
“I think it went really smooth,” said Lindsey. “We competed well, and we got to see where we’re at and where we need to go to continue to improve. It makes me very proud to see that when someone goes down (like Felipe), that we have other runners that step up in his place and perform well. When someone goes down, someone else steps up. That shows me that we have a strong program and can lean on our depth.”
The Sonoraville boys had several strong runs as well with Nahum Trenti leading the way in seventh individually thanks to a time of 19:25. John Graves was close behind with his 11th-place finish with a time of 19:45, and Maurilio Segura came in at 14th with a 20:02. Rounding out the scoring for the Phoenix was Destin Summers in 22nd (20:54) and Ben Stewart in 25th (21:16).
The Lady Phoenix didn’t factor into the team scoring with only four runners competing in the girls’ varsity race, but Riley Triplett put forth a fifth-place finish individually thanks to a run of 24:14. Maggie Hamilton also had a strong day with an 11th-place finish and a time of 25:11.
Sonoraville coach Butch Burch said he saw exactly what he wanted see from his team on Tuesday on the Region course, which is close to home for the Phoenix and Lady Phoenix.
“We’re tickled to have the region course right in our own backyard,” said Burch. “And we came out here and did exactly what we need to do today. We wanted to see the course, see the tough spots and learn how to run it. We’ll be back out here again soon to run it and get even more familiar with it. I was excited about how our team looked today. We’re leaving on a positive note, and we’re looking forward to Region and our hard work paying off. We’ve got a young team, but I have a lot of confidence in the talent I’m seeing. It seems like every week, we have someone new that shines.
“I took this position to create a strong cross country program at Sonoraville, and we seem to be building that. I’m excited about what we saw today and what we have coming in the future.”
Lindsey said it definitely is a boost for his boys team to win the meet and the girls to finish second, but they have to keep working toward the goal at the end of the season.
“It helps our confidence, but we’ve got to stay focused,” said Lindsey. “Our goals remain the same with wanting to win the County Meet and the Region Meet. I think we’re in a good position right here before Fall Break. We’ll get a little rest and a chance to refocus. We want to perform well every race but definitely want to have our best days in the crucial meets at the end of the season.”
Sonoraville will run again at Grove Level Meet hosted by Coahulla Creek on Thursday, and both Calhoun and Sonoraville will run at the Rome All-Area Meet at Georgia Highlands next Saturday. They will both compete along with Gordon Central in the Gordon County Meet (Cow Bell Classic) at Resaca on Oct. 17 before running in the Region 6-AAA Meet at Resaca on Oct. 24.