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2021 GIRLS XC RUNNER OF THE YEAR: Carmel Yonas, South Forsyth
Carmel Yonas
South Forsyth junior Carmel Yonas is the 2021 Forsyth County News Girls Runner of the Year after finishing second at the Class 7A state championship with a 19:20. - photo by Noah Rubin

For the second straight year, South Forsyth’s Carmel Yonas is the Forsyth County News Girls Runner of the Year.

Yonas, who won the Class 7A state championship last year, finished in second place this time around with a time of 19:20.

Despite not repeating as the state champion, Carmel is still proud of how her season went.

“I think at the beginning, it went really well,” Yonas said. “I was strong. I came off a really good summer training. There was also a lot of competition between my sister and I, and I think that really motivated me a lot to do really well throughout the season so I could take her along with me. Towards the end, I think I kind of slowed down a little bit because I was feeling a little bit under the weather for state.”

Isabel Yonas, Carmel’s younger sister, improved on her ninth-place finish last season by finishing sixth with a time of 19:45.

The two have a special bond that allows them to push each other to be great. Carmel says that they “practically run everyday together.” That bond and success is something that makes their family very proud.

“They’re so impressed, and they’re so proud,” Carmel said. “Especially of my sister because they didn’t really think much of it when she said she wanted to do running, because she had done running previously before high school. But they were super excited when Isabel was able to run with me and keep up with me.”

Carmel and Isabel finished just two places apart in October at the Region 6-7A meet, with Carmel running an 18:31 and capturing a region championship and Isabel carding a 19:01 and finishing third.

As a sophomore Carmel won state. As a junior she won region. While she’s accomplished it all, Yonas isn’t near satisfied.

“Just continue to do well,” Carmel said. “Definitely continue to do well and try and hit really good times. Especially for the 5k and during track, try and hit those goals so I can get into a really good college to run cause I do wanna run in college.”

If the rest of the state wasn’t on high alert for the Yonas sisters already, they better be next year.