Despite having multiple races canceled early in the season, Cedartown’s cross country squads have been able to enjoy success in two events so far.

The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, coached by Dr. Richard Shortt, ran in the Bob Blastow Early Bird Invitational on Aug. 22 before competing in the Carrollton Orthopedic Invitational on Sept. 12.

“I am very proud of my runners this season,” Shortt said. “Even with the challenges we have faced in having races canceled or postponed, they’ve come ready to give it their all each day in practice and at each race.”

Their first event, the Bob Blastow Early Bird Invitational, was held in late August in Whitesburg. The Bulldogs finished fourth out of eight teams competing in Carroll County.

Sophomore Leo Segura had the fifth best time, coming in at 17 minutes, 39 seconds on the 5K course. Brandon Ramos, a junior, finished 11th with a time of 17:55. Sophomore Dalton Benefield and seniors Will Statham and Braxton Ramos all finished in under 20 minutes, while freshmen Uriel Guzman and Miguel Cornejas were not far behind.

The Lady Bulldogs had a good outing in Whitesburg as well. Sophomore McKenzie Butler ran a 27:20, while senior Noelia Escutia finished with a time of 29:42. Freshman Luceria Escutia ran a 30:28. Sophomore Bella Owens and freshman Lezlie Bates each finished around the 32-minute mark.

Their second race took place last Saturday, as Carrollton High School hosted the prestigious Carrollton Orthopedic Invitational.

Cedartown’s boys finished in 11th place out of 25 teams. Leo Segura, who was 34th out of 157 runners overall, ran a time of 19:56. He was followed by Brandon Ramos (20:21) and Britt Baxter (20:29) who each finished in the top 50. Will Statham (21:17), Uriel Guzman (21:24), Braxton Ramos (21:27) and Logan Walters (22:28) all competed well for the varsity boys squad.

Dr. Shortt’s girls came in 14th out of over 20 teams entered. McKenzie Butler led the way for the Lady Bulldogs on the tough state championship course, running a time of 29:57. Lezlie Bates ran a personal best of 30:59 on Saturday and was followed by Noelia Escutia (32:21), Bella Owens (32:30), and Lucero Escutia (33:52).

Cedartown’s junior varsity boys team ran a great race at the Carrollton Orthopedic Invitation and came in ninth out of 21 teams. They were led by Dalton Benefield (21:42), freshman Miguel Ornelas (23:16), freshman Nic Butler (23:43), freshman Daniel Sun (24:04), sophomore Hunter Shell (25:01), sophomore Ethan McElwee (25:39), and sophomore Noah Turpin (28:00).

Looking ahead at the rest of the season, Shortt stated that he is very excited about the potential of both teams.

“As we stand right now, I think there is a good shot that our boys finish second in the region,” Shortt said. “It’s tough to say exactly where our girls will end up in the standings, but I think we could finish around the middle of the pack.”

Region 7-4A is home to many talented cross country programs, posing a good challenge for Cedartown’s runners and coaching staff.

“Pickens is a great program top-to-bottom for the boys’ and girls’ teams,” Shortt said. “You have some other really good teams like Central-Carrollton, the Whitfield County schools, Heritage-Catoosa, and Ridgeland. There is not an easy opponent in Region 7, but we look forward to the challenge.”

Cedartown cross country’s next invitational took place on Sept. 15, as they ran in the Darlington GOAT (Greatest of All Time). Shortt’s squads will participate in the Darlington Festival on Sept. 26 before opening October with the Rockmart Invitational on Oct. 6. Their only home race of the 2020 season will take place on Oct. 13.

The final tune-up before the region championships is the Pickens-N-Grinning event on Oct. 17 in Jasper. The Region 7-4A Cross Country Championships will be raced on Oct. 27 in Jasper as well.

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