AA State Cross Country Champions!
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Pushing through a steady rain that began to fall as the starting gun fired, the Lovett boys’ cross country team took first place in the GSHA State Cross Country Championship, edging out their Atlanta rival, Pace Academy, by two points. The triple threat of seniors Joe Urbanowicz, Patrick Pitts, and Henry Haden dominated the top of the field for the entire race, taking 2nd (16:39.09), 3rd (16:54.94), and 8th (17:09.19), respectively. All three runners achieved PRs for the course. The victory would not have been possible, however, without the strong performances of juniors Bennett Denker (12th with a time of 17:16.74) and Hunt Shurling (14th with a time of 17:44.03), with Shurling rocketing past a Pace runner in the last 500 yards of the race to secure the win. It was a great ending to a challenging and memorable season for the team, especially for the other State Meet runners who made special contributions throughout the season, including senior Al Coy, junior Parker Coy, senior Jack Gallagher, and senior Conner Kanaly. Coach Mayer, who artfully guided the team through an unusual season that was under constant threat of ending due to COVID-19, said: “I am mostly grateful. The last six to seven months have been stressful to say the least. I am so happy we have been able to navigate it all and get to today. A day like this doesn’t happen without the work of many. I think back four years ago when the boys’ program started gaining reputable momentum and the years that followed with teams always in the hunt. This year was going to be a tough one to win, maybe the toughest, but these boys—not just the seven who ran, but 15+ boys deep—showed up to work hard every day and just kept chipping away. We became a team that not only thought we could win it ourselves, but others thought we could come in and make it happen. The race was a brutal one, not pretty and not to plan, and that’s when you just have to give credit to the guys who raced—they wanted it and got the job done.”
AA State Cross Country Runner Up! Undeterred by the soggy and slippery conditions, senior Sydney Lamberson and sophomore Ellie Wildman launched off the starting line in usual fashion and refused to relinquish their hard-earned positions at the front of the field, finishing 1st (20:08.88) and 4th (20:39.27), respectively. These top placements combined with the strong performances of seniors Margaret Anne Coleman (18th with a time of 22:29.00), Laine Barnwell (20th with a time of 22:33.93), and Janie Huggins (22nd with a time of 22:38.35), propelled the Lovett girls’ cross country team to a 2nd place finish. It was a great ending to a season in which, despite the unusual circumstances, the team persevered and positioned themselves to compete at the highest level, with many team members, including State Meet runners Sophia Ghegan and Alden Ghegan, making special contributions throughout the season. Coach Mayer commented: “The girls had a tough battle on their hands but they too had an opportunity to upset. Things didn’t totally go our way and we slipped back in the pack a bit too much, but I’m proud of the way they battled the final 800m to pass Bleckley County back and secure 2nd place. I’m over the moon proud for senior Sydney Lamberson on taking home the title and it was an outstanding Batman-and-Robin style performance from sophomore Ellie Wildman.”
Finally, we give a special shout out to Coach Mayer and his entire coaching staff, who have consistently led Lovett cross country teams to compete for the championship year-after-year. You did it! State Champions! Congratulations!