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Distance Doggs impress early

POSTED: August 27, 2014 2:00 a.m.

The Saucony Cross Country Kickoff, held in Savannah this past Saturday, gave Winder-Barrow an opportunity to give both varsity squads an early season challenge against other top programs from around the state. 

It also afforded both the varsity men and women a chance to succeed at a decent level early in the year, as both teams finished in the top 10 and had runners near the front of the nearly 250 competitors. 

Winder-Barrow seniors Timmy Villameter (14, 17:32.71) and Nelson Lofton (23, 18:09.43) led the way for the Distance Doggs as expected. As head coach Michael Lofton said before the season, Winder-Barrow hopes that Nelson Lofton and Villameter can provide the team with a good, close grouping towards the top of the pack.

Keeping the team spread rather evenly, Dakota Kay (37, 18:36.10) finished third for Winder-Barrow and three seconds ahead of Apalachee senior Chandler Campbell (39, 18:39.68) and Mountain View senior Sam McWhorter (38, 18:39.20). 

The final runners to score varsity points for Winder-Barrow’s men were Gustavo Garcia (46, 18:54.26) and Jake Martinez (47, 18:54.78). The duo clearly paced each other well, since the teammates were clocked finishing within a second of each other, and helped boost the Distance Doggs ahead of other runners rounding out the top 50. 

Winder-Barrow’s alternates, Harrison Daniel (52, 19:03.12) and Will Pursell (58, 19:10.04) also finished close together.

Distance Doggs Tyler Dennis (97, 20:07.53), Matthew Hackett (98, 20:14.52) and Trey Olson (164, 21:58.80) rounded out Winder’s 10 runners, though they did not receive points for their times. 

As a team, the Distance Doggs finished fourth overall with an average team time of 18:25 and 163 team points. They were beaten out by metro-Atlanta schools Marietta High School’s 17:11 average finish and 32 points, Etowah’s 52 points for an average finish of 17:22 and Mountain View’s 17:56 finish for 111 points. 

In fifth place was Pace Academy with 192 points and an average team finish of 18:37. Following Pace was Winder-Barrow’s fellow region foe and county rival Apalachee. The Wildcats turned in 198 points, just six points shy of fifth place, and finished with an average team time of 18:37.

The Lady Distance Doggs also had a monumental morning in Savannah with sophomore Micah Weathers (4, 20:33.00) once again reaching the podium and leading the way for Winder-Barrow. She was outpaced by Etowah’s Kingsley Green (1, 19:06.45) and a pair of runners from Marietta High School.

Following Weathers for Winder-Barrow was senior runner Macy Hayes (28, 22:44.62), who edged Effingham County’s Marina Van Sickle (29, 22:44.64) by a microscopic .02 second margin.

Winder-Barrow’s third runner to cross the line was sophomore Sara Carpenter (37, 23:19.78). 

The sophomore duo of Hope Richardson (48, 23:53.21) and Katie Arradondo (50, 24:04.76) rounded out both the top 50 overall and Winder’s top five while finishing within sight of one another. Arradondo missed out on a back-to-back finish with her teammate by nearly .10 seconds as Wayne County’s Brooke Reese (49, 24:04.65) snuck her way in to the finish line.

Summer Bartz (80, 25:20.73) was the first alternate scorer for Winder-Barrow while seniors Isabell Martin (116, 26:39.86) and Amber Duffy (117, 26:41.50) fought each other down to the wire for the honor of being Winder’s seventh finisher.

Etowah and Marietta owned the podium with 47 points and 67 points respectively, but Winder-Barrow’s fifth place finish with 159 points and a 22:55 average team finish time is still an excellent indicator that this team has potential to once again capture the Region 8-AAAAA title. Pace Academy took 142 points and a 21:26 team finish time to capture third place while Bluffton’s 145 points and 22:43 finish garnered them fourth.

Richmond Hill narrowly missed passing Winder-Barrow with a 22:56 team finish time, just one second shy of Winder’s mark, while their 163 points were just four too many to match what the Lady Distance Doggs did.

Winder-Barrow will come closer to home for their next race as they participate in Saturday’s War Eagle Invitational at Chestatee High School in Gainesville. 



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