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CROSS COUNTRY: Rome High fares well at Ridge Ferry

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In a race featuring 23 schools, the Rome Wolves cross country team performed well in defending its home course at the Ridge Ferry Invitational on Thursday, with both its girls and boys finishing in the top five.

“We were defending our turf and I’m proud of how we did it,” said Rome coach Luis Goya. “There were a lot of schools here, especially some from the metro Atlanta area, and I thought the way we competed is something to be proud of.”

The race comes just more than a week after Rome swept the boys’ and girls’ races at the City-County Championship at Ridge Ferry Park. Goya said with so many large teams competing this time, his goal was to simply defend the home course admirably.

The Wolves took fifth place in the varsity boys’ race, scoring 140 points and getting two players in the top 15. Meanwhile, the Lady Wolves took third place in the varsity girls’ standings, followed closely by Model, who finished fifth.

Once again, it was Elijah Glick leading the Wolves with a third-place individual finish and a personal best time of 16:58.

Teammate John Berry Bowling followed after him in 14th with a time of 17:49.

Glick said he got through the first two miles of the race in an easy groove, but began to hit a wall in the final mile.

He said his second wind came in the final 400 meters, giving him enough of a kick to gain his personal best. Glick said he enjoys competing in races with larger competition, saying it pushes him to better himself and his ability to compete.

“It’s great to run against people you don’t normally run against because it’s a test,” Glick said. “The ability to face higher competition is just great.”

The Lady Wolves were led by Isabella Schlitz who finished ninth, but it was Model’s Carah Arrant who placed highest among area runners, finishing in eighth with a time of 20:49.

Arrant said other than finding her position at the start, the biggest part of the race was the mental aspect. When facing so many schools at once, she said it was best to keep her mind right with every step.

“I knew it all had to be mental. It’s all mental,” Arrant said. “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right either way.”

At the top of the standings in both the girls’ and boys’ races was Pope High School out of Marietta. The Greyhounds were led by three different runners finishing in the top five, while the Lady Greyhounds saw Ashley Kehoe take first with a time of 19:43.

Rome will race next at the Woodland quad-meet next Tuesday, but Goya said he wants his team not to push too hard on that race.

He wants his team prepared a few days later when it competes in the much larger Wingfoot Classic in Cartersville on Sept. 26.