New Balance Forsyth County Cross Country Championship
Boys Top 10
1. Ryan Peppenhorst, South Forsyth – 17:01.7
2. Trevor Kane, South Forsyth – 17:03.5
3. Max Warner, Forsyth Central – 17:12.4
4. Austin Campbell, Forsyth Central – 17:13.0
5. Matt Patterson, South Forsyth – 17:17.7
6. Zach Coleman, South Forsyth – 17:22.3
7. Reed Vaughn, South Forsyth – 17:30.1
8. Cole Gizelbach, Forsyth Central – 17:33.5
9. Luke Francis, South Forsyth – 17:42.7
10. Will Hasse, Forsyth Central – 18:07.5
1. South Forsyth – 21 points – Average time: 17:15
2. Forsyth Central – 36 points – Average time: 17:40.5
3. West Forsyth – 98 points – Average time: 19:11.4
4. Lambert – 100 points – Average time: 19:08.2
5. North Forsyth – 138 points – Average time: 19:53.1
South Forsyth senior Ryan Peppenhorst led nearly wire-to-wire and finished in 17 minutes, 1 second to win Saturday’s Forsyth County Cross Country Championships at Mary Alice Park on the shores of Lake Lanier.
South took the overall boys team title with all five runners placing in the top seven. Class AAAAA No. 1 Forsyth Central took second overall with four runners in the top 10.
“It just wasn’t our race,” Central junior Charlie Webb (18:16, 11th) said. “South had a better day. On a course like this, anything can happen.”
Peppenhorst and Central junior Max Warner ran out in front up a long, steep hill though the woods that took runners up and away from the water. Warner, who finished third in 17:12, was still nipping at Peppenhorst’s heels as the pair made their way through a mazy stretch to complete the first lap.
Climbing that same hill a second time proved a tougher task.
“That hill was killer,” Central junior Will Hasse (18:07, 10th) said. “You got to a point where you thought the end was near, but then there was more to climb around the corner.”
Central hosted Saturday’s race; the Bulldogs worked until 9 p.m. the past two nights to ready a course designed and prepared over the summer by assistant coach Don Warner. The closing stretch took runners down the loose sand and gravel of Mary Alice Park’s swimming beach and to a grass peninsula finish that made it look as if a plunge in to Lake Lanier was the end result.
The long hill and a calf-burning final leg on sand made for slower times, especially from runners who ran the first mile too quickly, despite perfect, breezy conditions.
“I think most of us went out too fast,” Hasse said. “The second time up the hill was the difference. By the time we got to the beach, we had nothing left.”
South Forsyth sophomore Trevor Kane made a charge on the second lap, emerging from the pack to push his teammate Peppenhorst. Kane finished second in 17 minutes, 3 seconds and was on Peppenhorst’s hip down the beach.
Class AAAAAA No. 9 West Forsyth and 6A watch list Lambert held out most of their varsity runners. West’s John Green, Brian Skoglind and Daniel Sexton did not participate; Jonathan Schwind and Hank and Byron Grogan sat out for Lambert. The Longhorns’ top finisher was sophomore Jacob Merrill in 18 minutes, 25 seconds (12th place). Stephen Hillman led West in 18 minutes, 43 seconds (15th place).
For Central, Austin Campbell finished fourth in 17:13 and Cole Gizelbach placed eighth in 17:33. Matt Patterson (17:18), Zach Coleman (17:22), Reed Vaughn (17:30) and Luke Francis (17:43) finished fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth, respectively, for South.
The War Eagles won the team title comfortably with 21 points and an average time of 17:15. Central finished with 36 points and an average time of 17:40.