The Gordon Lee cross country teams bettered last year's third-place finishes in the Class A Public School state meet, but they still fell a little short of the top prize.
The Trojans and Lady Trojans each had to settle for the runner-up trophies in the team standings, but Gordon Lee did leave Carrollton on Saturday with an individual state title as sophomore Gracie O'Neal dominated her race.
O'Neal completed the tough course in 20:23 to win the Class A Public School crown by a full two minutes over Telfair County's Shayla Cook (22:23).
Gordon Lee and Telfair would battle it out for the team championship as both teams saw their top five runners finish in the top 30. But Telfair's top four all finished in the top 20 as they collected 64 points to win the title. Gordon Lee (82) was second, while Towns County (85) placed third and saw a five-year state championship streak come to an end.
Also racing for the Lady Trojans were Kate Gilliam (24:11), Emma Cate Dendy (25:19), Taylor McAllister (25:22), Riley Cash (25:52), Grayson Alexander (26:22) and Kayelee Bell (26:23).
On the boys' side, Jasper Wilson was the individual state runner-up with an 18:29. Ian Goodwin (18:57) was fourth and Jake Lee (19:24) was 10th. However, led by state champion Aaron Kirkland's 17:47, Georgia Military College Prep finished with 51 points, while Gordon Lee (98) was relegated to second place. Baconton Charter (126) was third.
It was the second state title in a row for GMC and its fourth in the last six years.
Jake Wright (21:04), Cole Collins (21:47), Braxton Ledford (22:05) and Michael Hubona (22:11) rounded out the lineup for the Trojans.
Heritage girls finish 13th
The Lady Generals were paced by a 22:37 from freshman Allison Craft, a 22:59 from Caylee Carpenter and a 23:22 by Alex Gass in Carrollton on Saturday. The rest of the Heritage roster included Lilly Black (24:10), Lucy Hicks (24:28), Finley Brisendine (25:03) and Skye Remko (26:32).
Nicole Pachuta of Oconee County finished in a time of 19:26 to win the individual title by three seconds. Marist (38 points) held off Oconee County (55) for the team title with Blessed Trinity (100) placing third.
Boyd leads Generals' effort
Caleb Boyd clocked in at 19:14 to lead the Heritage runners in the Class AAAA boys' race. Joel Lewis crossed the line in 19:42, followed by Dakota Carter (19:55), Jonathan Manion (20:21), Lance Marshall (20:23), Ryan Craft (20:49) and Caleb Buckler (21:13).
Knox Pittman of Marist won the individual title in 16:32, besting his nearest competitor by 10 seconds. The War Eagles went on to win the state with 58 points, edging out rival St. Pius X (63), while North Oconee (145) was a distant third.
Martinez places in top 15
LFO junior standout Erik Martinez ran in the Class AAA boys' state meet for a third consecutive season and turned in his best finish, placing 15th overall in a time of 17:36. Martinez was the only Warrior runner competing at state after he earned an at-large bid from the Region 6-AAA meet.
North Hall's Devon Crow picked up a six-second victory as he crossed the tape in 16:26.