Forsyth County's cross country teams were well-decorated by the end of Saturday's Area 3-7A meet at Canton's Boling Park.
South Forsyth High School’s teams each rose to the top of the pack, with the girls repeating as area champions and the boys joining them there. Meanwhile, Forsyth Central's Calan Gizelbach secured an individual achievement, finishing first in the boys race.
“I’m very proud of them,” South cross country coach Nick Wansley said. “Both the girls and the guys, they did a great job. It’s a really tough region and area, and I think there are a lot of teams that were here that are going to do really well at state. The big race is in two weeks, so we’re pretty excited about it.”
Junior Madelynne Cadeau held the top spot for South’s girls, clocking at 18:33.35 for a second place finish behind Woodstock’s Brynne Sumner. Along with Cadeau, Aleesa DeCastro (18:53.96) and Emma O’Connor (19:08.20) each finished in the top 12 to qualify for the state meet, finishing seventh and ninth for the War Eagles, respectively. With a score of 51, the girls team finished ahead of Walton, which had a score of 73.
On the boys side, South finished just ahead of West Forsyth to take the team crown. Junior Michael Patterson did everything the War Eagles needed from a frontrunner, just separating from a crowded field to push himself to a second place finish at 16:03.26. Sean Catania came through for the War Eagles by finishing ninth, qualifying for state with a time of 16:15.75.
“I was feeling good at the end,” Patterson said. “I decided if I want to get up there I had to make a move early and not wait until the end, so I decided to take off with about half a mile, maybe a little over to go.”
Far in front of the entire boys pack was Gizelbach, who led for the entirety of the race. The senior crossed the finish line in 15:40.36 to earn his first individual area title just one day after announcing his commitment to run at the University of Dayton. Gizelbach lost his first race of the season by a tenth of a second on the same course, which made his accomplishment on Saturday all the more gratifying.
“It just felt like all the work I put in this season (paid off),” Gizelbach said. “I had some down races and to finally get a win and get a region championship, it’s a good feeling.”
Behind Gizelbach and Patterson, North Forsyth’s Caleb Hall (16:08.08) and Lambert’s Cooper Bocko (16:08.48) completed the race with third and fourth place finishes.
By finishing first and second, South and West’s boys teams qualified for the state meet, as did Lambert’s boys, who finished fourth. South and West’s girls teams will compete at state as well.