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Carnahan, South Forsyth girls dominate county meet
SF SCarnahan 092014
South Forsyth's Savannah Carnahan cruised to a first-place finish in 19:38 to help the Lady War Eagles win the county championship. - photo by Brian Paglia

New Balance Forsyth County Cross Country Championship

Girls Top 10

1. Savannah Carnahan, South Forsyth – 19:38.6

2. Kaylee Dupont, South Forsyth – 19:56.6

3. Milicent Bergey, South Forsyth – 20:22.1

4. Bonnie McKinnon, Forsyth Central – 21:01.5

5. Emma Maisel, South Forsyth – 21:44.4

6. Nina Carter, North Forsyth – 22:11.8

7. Taylor Coleman, South Forsyth – 22:30.8

8. Savannah Ratcliff, South Forsyth – 22:58.1

9. Meagan Crumley, South Forsyth – 23:01.6

10. Caitlan Hulsebus, North Forsyth – 23:10.7

Team standings

1. South Forsyth, 18

2. Forsyth Central, 73

3. Lambert, 77

4. North Forsyth, 92

5. West Forsyth 115

Savannah Carnahan had barely finished her race, but already her breathing was composed. There was the picturesque shore of Lake Lanier to enjoy, or the satisfaction of near-certain victory in the Forsyth County Cross Country Championship for the Lady War Eagles, but Carnahan instead handed cups of water to runners as they crossed the finish line if only to underscore her – and South’s – dominance Saturday.

Carnahan finished first in 19 minutes 38.6 seconds to claim the individual girls’ title, and South placed seven runners in the top 10 to claim the overall championship at Mary Alice Park with 18 points, well-ahead of Forsyth Central who had 73, led by Bonnie McKinnon’s fourth-place finish in 21:01.

“It’s definitely a big deal to win county,” Carnahan said. “Not even to win county, but to have seven girls in the top 10.”

Indeed, the War Eagles flooded the finish line behind Carnahan. Freshman Kaylee Dupont (19:56) and sophomore Milicent Bergey (20:22) came behind Carnahan first to help South sweep the top 3. Emma Maisel (21:44) placed fifth, followed by Taylor Coleman (seventh, 22:30), Savannah Ratcliff (eighth, 22:58) and Meagan Crumley (ninth, 23:01).

It was a performance befitting South’s No. 4 ranking in Class AAAAAA in the latest poll released by, but also an encouraging one for War Eagles coach Van Munn.

Carnahan, Dupont and Bergery have been a consistent force all season, catapulting South into the discussion as a serious contender to win a state championship at Carrollton in November. The question has been how the Lady War Eagles’ lineup will solidify beyond the formidable trio.

“There’s still a little gap there that we’re trying to close,” Munn said.

Ratcliff provided some answers Saturday with her strong performance. She was a team captain last season but hadn’t participated in a varsity race this year after battling health issues over the summer.

“She’s coming back to where she was last year,” Munn said. “We need her. We need that push at the Nos. 4 and 5 positions.”

Much of the meet’s luster was diminished by who was not racing. There was the potential for a compelling head-to-head meeting between West Forsyth and South, the Nos. 3 and 4 ranked teams in Class AAAAAA, respectively. Instead, Lambert and West held out their varsity runners, sapping the event of some of its competitiveness.

Sarah Stachura was the top finisher for the Lady Longhorns, placing 11th in 23:18 to help Lambert finish third overall with 77 points. Maren Loveland led the Lady Wolverines, finishing 16th in 23:59 as West came in last with 115 points. North Forsyth’s Nina Carter placed sixth in 22:11 as the Lady Raiders finished fourth with 92 points.

And so the Lady War Eagles took center stage, navigating the course’s steep asphalt hill and the final stretch on a sandy shore to claim the county championship.

“I’m really happy to have all these girls running with me,” Carnahan said, “and to have not only a good team but a deep team too. We have a lot of girls running really well and really fast. That’s so exciting.”