Members of Wesleyan’s cross country team, center, take the course during the start of the girls AA State Cross Country Championship Saturday in Carrollton. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)
Not long after Saturday’s state meet, Wesleyan’s girls cross country team went from being champions outright to learning their victory was in doubt because of a Westminster protest.
On Monday, the Wolves got some more positive news — they will share the Class AA title with Westminster.
The Georgia High School Association’s official statement on the situation was: “A post-race review of the girls Class AA state championship cross country race held Nov. 9 in Carrollton revealed an error in scoring. After this error was corrected, Westminster and Wesleyan were tied atop the standings with 44 points each. The GHSA has therefore declared the two schools co-champions of Class AA for the 2013 season.”
The issue in question was a tight finish for ninth and 10th place between Wesleyan’s Kylie Reed and Westminster’s Gabby Bunnell. The timing system, chips in the runners’ shoes, had Reed just ahead (20 minutes, 36.03 seconds to 20:36.10), but Westminster’s argued that a photo finish had Bunnell nudging ahead at the finish line.
If those two runners flipped positions, it tied the two schools in the team standings. The tiebreaker then would have gone to the sixht-place runner, giving Westminster the title solely.
Instead, the GHSA declared both programs state champions. It’s the second straight state championship for the Wesleyan girls, who found out their fate during lunch Monday.
“I think it’s a good solution to a rather complex problem as it relates to the timing system,” Wesleyan athletic director Marc Khedouri said. “We’re certainly pleased with the decision.”
Wesleyan was led to the title by Caroline Reed (third, 19:55), Jordan Zimmerman (fourth, 20:00), Ellie Bradach (eighth, 20:32), Kylie Reed and Nikki Villa (19th, 21:33).