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Cross Country: North Forsyth boys place 16th in 1st state meet since 1999
11092022 NORTH FORSYTH XC
Competing in the state meet for the first time this century, the North Forsyth boys cross country team finished in the middle of the pack during the Class 6A race Saturday in Carrollton. (Photo by Nicholas Sullivan)

North Forsyth boys cross country competed in the state meet for the first time since 1999 and finished in the middle of the pack — 16th out of 32 teams — in the Class 6A race Saturday in Carrollton.

“I feel like we performed well,” Raiders head coach David Shively said. “We had some kids who place-wise were probably a little bit disappointed, but they’ve had the flu and haven’t really recovered yet. We’ll take what we did and be happy with it.”

Region 8-6A runner-up Brock Casey finished 35th to pace North Forsyth, which also placed second as a team in the region meet. 

Thomas Durand (58th) and Ian Vinson (59th) crossed within 2.5 seconds of each other. Daniel Murtagh wound up 88th, with the rest of the Raiders finishing in the back-half of the 224-person field.

“When you come here, it’s hard to worry about time, because it’s literally a position race,” Shively said. “Brock, our best senior, finished about where he came in here, which is generally what happens. You aren’t going to come in here and blow anybody away, because everybody has been putting in the work that you have.”

Some of the North Forsyth runners likely suffered a slight drop off due to the nature of the state meet — stiff competition on a hard course. 

“It can be a mystery,” Shively said. “It’s hard to explain this atmosphere.”

That's what happens when every member of the program is experiencing the event for the first time.

While the Raiders moving down to 6A certainly helped them, as they escaped one of the top regions in the state for the sport, it didn't make the moment any less special for the group of seniors.

“It’s four years of hard work,” Shively said. “Truth be told, when we’re in 7A, it’s an uphill battle for us, but 6A has given us an opportunity. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

Moving forward, Shively expects to have his returners, which includes five of the team's seven competitors Saturday, back in this position next fall. In face, he anticipates being able to put together an even stronger 2023 season.

“Expectations have been exceeded a little bit,” Shively said. “Next year, we’d like to win the region.”

Regardless of how next year goes (or subsequent seasons, if North Forsyth returns to being in the highest classification), the 2022 boys team will always hold a place in school history after breaking the curse and making the state meet.

“It’s been fun,” Shively said of the campaign, as a whole. “Good group of kids. Great leadership from our seniors. … Got some young kids coming up, too, so we expect to be back here next year. Hopefully, we can make it a habit.”