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PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Armuchee sweeps team, individual honors at county championships

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The Armuchee boys and girls both won the 2017 Floyd County Championship at Georgia Highlands College on Tuesday, a meet featuring all four Floyd County schools. Chaney Holder finished first individually for the Indians, and Chloe Purdy won for the Lady Indians.

“I want my teams to be mentally tough in these small races,” Armuchee coach Scott Pierce said, “because there is not always going to be someone for them to chase. And these are races where my runners can really push themselves and work on their own.”

The boys’ event was a tight race between Armuchee and Pepperell, with the first nine runners coming from one of the two schools. The Indians prevailed by 11 points as they had each of their five best runners in the top eight.

The surest thing in the entire race was Holder, who led from the opening horn to the finish line. The junior completed the 5K with a time of 18:14, a full 43 seconds ahead of Pepperell’s Edwin Chavez in second place.

Despite the warmer conditions, Holder said he felt that didn’t affect his performance and he hopes the team can work towards some of their higher aspirations.

“At this point, I really want to win state,” Holder said. “Our team has a great shot at doing it, and I think I have a shot at winning it individually. So I’m just going to train hard until then and see how it goes.”

The girls’ race was much clearer for the Lady Indians as they finished with the top three runners and four of the top five. Coosa was the only other team with enough runners to qualify for a team score.

Purdy spent most of the race closely behind Coosa’s Carrah Arrant, who was in front from the start. But Purdy took the top position in the final quarter mile and was the only girl to finish under 24 minutes with a time of 23:16.

Still only a freshman, Purdy admitted she is still getting used to competing on a varsity level.

“I’m usually just trying to find the people who are going at my pace and just kind of stay behind them,” Purdy said. “I can just base my speed off of theirs.”

All of the Floyd County teams will be back at Georgia Highlands on Saturday for the Georgia Highlands Classic. The first varsity race is at 9 a.m.

“We knew all year a race like this can be a test against the other local teams, especially the boys against Pepperell,” Pierce said. “When you know there’s a team that is a big threat to you at region, it’s kind of fun to go head-to-head with them.”