Cedartown cross country’s 2021 campaign is officially underway.

he Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, coached by Dr. Richard Shortt, are coming off a solid 2020 outing in which some young runners competed well in a very tough region. Now, CHS will try to improve upon those strides made a year ago.

Dr. Short’s bunch have run in four races over the past four weeks. They took part in the Pickens Preview on Aug. 21 before running in the Bob Blastow Early Bird Invitation in Whitesburg on Aug. 28. CHS took part in the 15 th Annual Run at the Rock on Sept. 4 in Cartersville and, most recently, ran in the Carrollton Orthopaedic Invitational on Saturday.

Looking at their two previous races, Dr. Short noted definite improvement on both sides. At the Race at the Rock, held at Woodland High School in Cartersville on Sept. 4, the Lady Bulldogs finished eigth (out of 13 teams), the Bulldogs came in sixth place (out of 16 teams), and the junior varsity boys were sixth (out of 13 teams).

Yessica Perez (23:50) led the Lady Bulldogs, finishing 28th out of 79 runners. Bella Owens (27:09), coming off a solid 2020 season, came in 37th place. The girls squad also received great times from freshman Jimena Escutia (28:16), sophomore Lezlie Bates (28:51), junior McKenzie Butler (28:53), junior Heather Perez (30:48), and freshman Helen Wesley (32:47).

The boys were led by juniors Leo Segura (18:42) and Dalton Benefield (18:44) who finished 20th and 21st respectively. Other Bulldogs who participated in the Race at the Rock include sophomore Uriel Guzman (19:27), juniors Britt Baxter (19:40) and Logan Walters (19:41), senior Brandon Ramos (19:47), freshman Oscar Guzman (20:20), junior Daniel Sun (20:42), and sophomore Knox James (21:17).

As for the junior varsity runners, sophomore Miguel Ornelas finished 18th out of 105 with a time of 21:36. He was followed by juniors Bailey Benefield (21:40) and Noah Turpin (22:01), senior Young Ramirez (24:44), sophomore Drew McClain (25:00), and freshman Langston Barnett (29:07).

Cedartown Middle School’s cross country team also ran at the race in Bartow County. Sherry Mendez and Aniyah Purnell finished with the top two girls times while Cesar Segura, who is still in elementary school, had the best time for the boys. Just behind Segura were Branson Adams and Benjamin Brown.

On Saturday morning Cedartown’s cross country teams participated in the Carrollton Orthopaedic Run at Carrollton High School, a tough and challenging course used for the state championships. The Lady Bulldogs finished 24th (out of 28 teams), the Bulldogs came in fifth (out of 30 teams).

Yessica Perez again led the girls squad, finishing 59th overall out of 191 runners with a time of 25:09. Bella Owens came in 113 th place with a time of 27:32.

Other finishers include Jimena Escutia (29:20), McKenzie Butler (29:21), Lezlie Bates (30:06), sophomore Lucero Escutia (32:15), Helen Wesley (37:31), and senior Janeth Sanchez (37:52).

Dalton Benefield (19:08) and Leo Segura (19:30) were the top finishers for CHS in Carrollton, coming in 21st and 27th. The rest of the Bulldogs, in finishing order, were Uriel Guzman (19:47), Baxter (19:50), Walters (20:38), Oscar Guzman (20:54), and Sun.

The junior varsity boys were led by freshman Mason Molidor (20:38) who came in 18th out of 113 runners. He was followed by Bailey Benefield (23:10), Turpin (24:01), and McClain (25:00). Miguel Ornelas and Jose Perez also competed and did well in Carroll County.

“The entire squad is working hard and improving, and we will continue to work,” Shortt said. “We’ve had a few good weeks of practice and we are now seeing the results.”

The cross country squads will continue their hard work with more races throughout the season, leading up to the Region 7-4A event, the Pickens & Grinnin’ Invitiational, on Oct. 16.

Cedartown will take part in the Wire2Wire XC Invitational hosted by Cartersville High School this Saturday. The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will run in The GOAT at Darlington High School on Sept. 21 before competing in the Rockmart Invitational on Oct. 5.

Their last tune up before their mid-October region test will be the 18th Annual Darlington Cross Country Festival on Oct. 9.

The Cedartown Middle School squad, a budding program that continues to perform at a high level, will be back at it on Saturday at the 2nd Annual General Assembly at Heritage Middle School in Ringgold.

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