Peachtree Ridge’s girls cross country team placed third at last year’s Class AAAAAA state meet. That was enough motivation to push the Lions through summer workouts this year.
“We worked six days a week throughout the summer, starting on Memorial Day weekend,” Peachtree Ridge coach Ron Clanton said. “We have a group of girls really determined. They finished third last year, but they want to improve on that. I knew all summer long they were chomping at the bit to run against someone other than themselves.”
Peachtree Ridge’s eagerness showed on Saturday at the Berry Invitational in Rome. The Lions had three runners finish in the top 10 to score 51 points and beat runner-up Harrison’s 113 points.
Peachtree Ridge was led by Addy Lippitt, who made an early season claim as one of the state’s top runners. The senior posted a time of 19 minutes, 13 seconds to win the race.
“I was pleasantly surprised she did so well,” Clanton said. “I knew Addy had been working really hard. She’s very determined. She really performed well this past weekend. She’s going to be a contender.”
Laurel Wilson (19:55) was fourth and Caroline Williams (20:08) was seventh, Haley Spears (20:30) was 18th and Michelle Rodriquez (20:40) was 21st. The Berry Invitational was the first major race of the season with 33 teams from across the Southeast. However, defending state champion Brookwood was not at the race. The Lions will have to wait until next Saturday to face them at the Carrollton Invitational.
“We’ll be in the mix, but one race doesn’t determine your whole season,” Clanton said. “I told them accomplishing something like that at the beginning of the season puts a target on your back. They have to work even harder to maintain what they accomplished.”
Mills steps out of shadow
For the last three years, Peachtree Ridge’s Kevin Mills has had to race in the shadows of state champion Josh Brickell. Brickell is now at Furman University, opening the door for Mills to be the Lions’ leader.
He did that on Saturday at the Berry Invitational. Mills posted a time of 15:34 to win the race.
“I think Kevin getting out of the shadow of Josh helped him,” Peachtree Ridge coach Ron Clanton said. “He’s come back this season stronger and faster. He showed a lot of mental determination I haven’t seen before.”
Mills’ win helped propel Peachtree Ridge to a runner-up finish at the meet with 95. The Lions were just one point behind winner St. Pius.
The Lions, who were fifth at state last year, were able to edge out defending state champion Mill Creek’s 99 points.
“Going in, I thought if we can scratch out a fifth-place, that would be good,” Clanton said. “When you lose a guy like Josh Brickell, that’s like getting 100 points.” Isaac Penman was seventh with a time of 16:30 for the Lions, while Evan Beck (17:00) was 22nd, Nate Reichard (17:07) was 28th and Michael Armstrong (17:23) was 37th.
Mill Creek’s Tyler Woodrome is the state’s top returning finisher from the state meet and he was fourth overall with a time 16:09.
Shiloh runner-up at meet
First-year Shiloh coach Rob Blaszkiewicz has the Generals running in the right direction.
Shiloh was runner-up at the Savannah Fleet Feet Kickoff Classic on Aug. 24. The Generals scored 24 points in the 23-team meet. It’s highest finish for Shiloh in eight years.
Bryan Kamau and Solomon Nahom were the Generals’ two top runners, finishing second and third-place overall, respectively.
Gomez leads Rams
Sophomore Nely Gomez had a strong showing at the Berry Invitational on Saturday. Gomez placed sixth overall in the Class 5A/6A race to help the Rams to a seventh-place finish overall. Gomez posted a time of 20 minutes, 4 seconds.
Bears take top five at UGA
Mountain View’s boys and girls team finished in the top five at the UGA Invitational on Saturday.
The girls were led by Rebecca Winslow, who placed fifth overall with a time of 21:11.80 to help the Bears take fifth as a team.
Robert Bevins was 11th with a time of 17:55.40 to lead the boys team to a third-place finish. Donald Shelton was 14th with a time of 18:08.30.
Swanigan joins Tuttle in front
Providence has relied on Tayler Tuttle to be the team’s top runner the last two years. However, sophomore Emily Swanigan emerged as another standout runner for the Storm on Saturday.
Swanigan placed fourth at the Berry Invitational with a time of 20:10, putting her right behind Tuttle’s runner-up finish of 19:16.
Lions’ Mills, Lippitt runners of the week
Peachtree Ridge’s Kevin Mills and Addy Lippit were selected as the Gwinnett County runners of the week by the coaches. Mills won the Berry Invitational with a time of 15 minutes, 34 seconds, while Lippit won the girls race at Berry with a time of 19:13.
They join Mill Creek’s Tyler Woodrome and Providence’s Tayler Tuttle, who were the Week 1 runners of the week. Woodrome won stage four at the Stage Races with a time of 10:08 on the two-mile course. Tuttle had a time of 18:31 at the NEGA championship.