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Wolves Ramsey wins A crown
Nerves don't slow sophomore

CARROLLTON - Erika Ramsey never gets nervous before a race.

It turned out that uneasy feeling was all Ramsey needed.

The sophomore clocked a time of 19 minutes, 51 seconds to win the Class A state championship on Saturday.

"I've been so nervous and I don't get nervous before races," Ramsey said. "The adrenaline at the end ... I saved all my nervousness up for energy and it helped me in the race."

Ramsey was one of three Wesleyan runners to place in the top 10 as the Wolves placed third as a team with 75 points. Our Lady of Mercy won the Class A state title with 54 points and Pace Academy had 74 points. Providence Christian took fifth.

"I figured coming in there was three teams that had a chance to win and for us to be in the mix was fantastic," Wesleyan girls coach Dan Byrne said. "We had some girls run awesome."

In addition to Ramsey's top finish, the Wolves' Jane Strader took fourth and Mary Pate Mills was 10th.

"Mary Pate has turned herself in a runner over three years," Byrne said. "We're happy to have her another year."

It wasn't until the last mile that Ramsey began to pick off runners and in the last 800 meters took the lead. Ramsey joins Lauren Blankenship as Wesleyan's only individual cross country champions.

"When she started passing people I got so excited," said Strader, who took fourth as a sophomore. "I'm so proud of her. I think she's going to continue to get faster and get better the next two years."

Providence's Lauren Kelly was 15th, Sarah Sharpe was 25th and Joanna Preg was 29th.

After winning the last three Class AA state championships, the Wesleyan boys took second in Class A. Our Lady of Mercy won its third straight title with 47 points, while Wesleyan had 57. Providence was sixth.

"It's hard," Wesleyan boys coach Brian Kennerly said. "We would have won our fourth in a row. But we ran a great race, but so did they."

Christopher Duvall was the Wolves' top runner, finishing in sixth with a time of 16:42. Brandon Ramsey was seventh (16:43), Bradley Gossett was 11th and Kyle Buckley was 16th.

Providence's top runners were Eric Mills in 13th with a time of 17:26, Jonathan Preg was 22nd and Elias Crist was 25th.

Greater Atlanta Christian girls took 11th in Class AA. Sophia Artusa was the Spartans' top finisher, taking ninth place with a time of 20:28.17.

Lauren Kester, a state title favorite, was unable to complete the race.