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South boys, West girls shine at region meet
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Forsyth County News

South Forsyth boys and West Forsyth girls made the biggest splashes at the Region 6-AAAAAA cross country meet Saturday at Chattahoochee Pointe Park.

The War Eagles won the region title with 33 points ahead of West (48), Lambert (88) and Centennial (100). The Lady Wolverines were two points shy of a region title with 50 points, just behind region champion Centennial (48) and ahead of South (83) and Lambert (85).

The top four teams in each region advanced to the Class AAAAAA meet Saturday at Carrollton.

South had the top two individual placers in both the boys and girls meets. Ryan Peppenhorst won the boys individual region title finishing in 16 minutes 42.92 seconds, just ahead of teammate Jake Howlin (16:47.61). Lady War Eagles sophomore Savannah Carnahan won the girls individual region title in 19:10.60 while teammate Milicent Bergey was runner-up in 19:13.10.

The success at the top held true for the boys, who placed all five runners in the top 13. Matt Patterson was sixth in 16:52.38, Luke Francis finished 11th in 17:05.56 while Trevor Kane was 13th in 17:06.32.

South’s girls team didn’t have the same depth at the top of the standings, which opened the door for West’s talented young team to challenge Centennial for the region title.

Julie Ericson led the Lady Wolverines with a third place finish in 19:15.50, breaking the school freshman record. Haley Anderson was fifth in 19:35.65, Liz Galarza was seventh in 19:50.78, Kaitlyn Griffith came in 15th in 20:29.88 and Kim Gibson was 20th in 20:37.64.

It was a good day for West all around with both teams qualifying for the state meet after missing out last season.

"We kind of have a saying in our program – don’t look back, because that’s not where we’re headed," West coach Clayton Tillery said. "These kids committed early on to work real hard to achieve a goal for each other. That’s probably the most gratifying part."

Lambert qualified both teams for the state meet.

Noah Schaich led the boys team with a fifth place finish in 16:53.05. Other top runners for the Longhorns were Jonathan Schwind (ninth, 17:01.02), Hank Grogan (21st, 17:38.10), Christopher Scharp (23rd, 17:43.49) and Michael House (30th, 17:52.23).

Mae McKenna led the girls team with an eighth place finish in 19:57.92. The Lady Longhorns got strong runs from Megan Gianini (11th, 20:14.55), Jamie Angle (17th, 20:35.14), Abby Fox (24th, 20:56.22) and Samantha Hardy (25th, 20:59.37) to nearly eclipse South.

North’s boys and girls teams failed to qualify for the state meet. Ben Cochran led the boys team with a 17th place finish in 17:26.57, while Gigi Fulkerson led the Lady Raiders with a 37th place finish in 22:02.14.