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Cross Country: South boys capture state championship, Central's Gizelbach finishes as runner-up
South Forsyth's boys cross country team poses with the Class 7A state championship trophy on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 in Carrollton. - photo by David Almeda

Plenty of Forsyth County cross country runners had a day to remember at the GHSA state meet in Carrollton on Saturday.

South Forsyth’s boys team took the ultimate prize on Saturday, hoisting the Class 7A boys championship trophy. The War Eagle boys led a top five full of Forsyth squads, including second place Lambert and fourth place West Forsyth. 

Forsyth Central’s Calan Gizelbach, the Area 3-7A individual boys champion, finished his race second overall. South’s girls finished second behind Marietta, led by the third place finish of junior Madelynne Cadeau.

“It’s really amazing,” South Forsyth coach Nick Wansley said. “I’m just proud of the kids. It's surreal — it's going to take a little while to sink in. They're so deserving of this from all their hard work.”

South frontrunner Michael Patterson hasn’t been thrilled with his state championship performances over the last few years, but on Saturday, he ran a race he was proud of, finishing 11th with a time of 16:46.31.

“It feels amazing,” Patterson said. “We’ve been working for this all season and it finally happened. I was thinking, ‘I can’t have a repeat of (the last two years). I need to play this smart and not go out too fast or too slow.’”

For Gizelbach, the race was another crack at the individual state title after coming close over the last two years. Crossing the finish line with a time of 16:16.07, he finished eight seconds behind East Coweta’s Kyle Harkabus. Despite not reaching the top spot, though, Saturday’s runner-up performance was Gizelbach’s best at state over his now-ending high school career.

“It was a good way to (finish) running in a Forsyth Central jersey,” Gizelbach said. I would have liked the win but Kyle’s a heck of a competitor. It’s great to be No. 2 — I’ve got a couple of postseason races left, so I look forward to those.”

For most of the 7A girls race, Cadeau battled for the top spot with Marietta’s Ellie Hall, with both runners staying neck-and-neck. But in the last stretch to the finish line, Area 3-7A individual champion Brynne Sumner surpassed them both to finish three seconds ahead. Cadeau ended her race with a time of 18:39.24, just 15 milliseconds behind Hall. As a junior, she’ll figure to have good shot at first next year.

“It was just a great experience,” Cadeau said. “I’m still learning how to race in the front pack and learn how to compete like that.”

North Forsyth’s Caleb Hall finished the boys race eighth overall (16:39.92). Lambert’s Cooper Bocko (16:51.55) and West’s Reece Cato (16:57.75) led their respective teams with 12th and 15th place finishes. Denmark’s Karthik Kochuparambil finished 10th overall in the 4A boys race in 17:13.21.