Teams from around Northwest Georgia and Metro Atlanta gathered on the grounds of Darlington for its annual Cross Country Festival on Saturday, and two Atlanta runners came out on top.
Senior Michael Thurston of Marist and senior Tayler Tuttle of Providence Christian took the first place finishes in both the boys and girls varsity races at Darlington Saturday.
Locally, Darlington’s Stepahnie Ward took a 11th place finish on the day with a time of 19.55:07. Rome’s Jenna Tilton placed just outside the top 20 with a time of 20:22.33.
Darlington’s Spencer Fields came in for a 24th-place finish at the top of the boys race for local runners, crossing the line at 17:13.31.
“It’s fun. It takes months of preparation. I started preparing in May and this is all I’ve done for the past two weeks,” Darlington coach Alan Parish said. “It’s nice to see everyone come out and have fun, run good times and enjoy the fall weather.”
Darlington’s girls placed fourth overall for the day, and placed 11th in boys on the day.
Thurston finished well ahead of the pack in the boy’s varsity race Saturday with a time of 15:52.31, a whole 13 seconds before Matt Munns of Blessed Trinity crossed the finish line at 16:06.59.
Thurston said he was happy with his finish despite keeping out of the pack.
“It’s always tough leading the pack because of drafts, and the fact that the varsity race started so much later than usually is this time of the season,” he said.
For Providence Christian’s Tuttle, she was happy to finish with a win after sqeaking just ahead of Marist junior Morgan Ilse.
“It gives me confidence in my kick, because I haven’t had a lot of wins like that this year,” Tuttle said. “So it gives me confidence I can pretty much beat anyone in the end like that.”