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October 3, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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Wac htel wins Rock Ranch Invitational Page 5B By Rkha l forsyth@mymcr.net. Led by first-place individ- ual finisher Justin Wachtd, the Mary Persons boys cross country team placed seventh out of 23 teams with 239 points at The Rock Ranch Invitational meet in Yatesville on Saturda)n The sophomore Wachtel was the boys individual champion with a time of 15 minutes, 55 seconds, besting second-place Zack Truitt of Landmark Christian by just over 20 seconds. Wachtel reportedly set a new course record, breaking the previ- ous record mark he set in 2017 by 11 seconds. Other MP boys runners who recorded counting times induded: Logan O'Neill, who placed 17th ut of 205 total runners with a time of 17 minutes, 50 seconds, Alec Remick, who placed 73rd with a time of 19 minutes, 39 seconds, Holden Haworth, who placed 82nd with a time of 19 minutes, 51 seconds, and Connor Battles, who placed 88th with a time of 19 min- utes, 56 seconds. Other MP boys runners who competed on Saturday but did not record count- ing times included: Alex Hansen, who placed 121st with a time of 20 minutes, 44 seconds, Liam Spence, who placed 125th with a time of 20 minutes, 53 seconds, Weston Dunwody, who placed 139th with a time of 21 minutes, 12 seconds, Kent Mantle, who placed 153rd with a time of 21 minutes, 57 seconds, and Austin Cookman, who placed 165th with a time of 22 minutes, 28 seconds. MP sophomore Justin Wachtel set a new Rock Ranch course record on Saturday while winning the Rock Ranch Invitational boys individual race for the second consecutive year. (Photo/Truett Goodwin) included: Maradeth Leverett, Decatur was the boys seconds, Mitchell Whitfield placed meet champion with 62 points, 101st with a time of 24 minutes, who placed 22nd with a time of followed by second-place North- 42 seconds, and Timothy Cle- 22 minutes, 27 seconds, Caroline gate with 74 points. Landmark ments placed 107th with a time of Hampton, who placed 23rd with Christian finished in third place 25 minutes, 2 seconds, a time of 22 minutes, 28 seconds, with 127 points. Meanwhile, the MP girls cross Sarah Boyer, who placed 27th Other boys teams who com- peted on Saturday in order from country team placed sixth out of with a time of 22 minutes, 42 highest to lowest finish included: 18 teams with 143 points at Rock seconds, and Stormie Martin, LaGrange, Whitewater, Jones Ranch on Saturda) who placed 90th with a time of 25 County, Spalding, Paideia, Pike Whitewater was the girls meet minutes, 22 seconds. County, McIntosh, Northside champion with 95 points, fol- Other MP girls runners who (Columbus), Perr Trinity lowed by second-place Mcintosh competed on Saturday but did not Sharpsburg, Lamar County, Fay- with 99 points. Paideia finished in record counting times included: third place with 111 points. Christina Medlin, who placed ette County, Upson-Lee, Heritage, Landmark Christian's Erin 100th with a time of 25 minutes, Howard, Baldwin, ACE, Troup Fegans was the girls individual 53 seconds, Hope Brooks, who County and Monticello. champion with a time of 19 min- placed 104th with a time of 25 Several more MP boys runners competed as individuals in the JV utes, 11 seconds, besting second- minutes, 58 seconds, and Jackie boys race, but the JV Bulldogs did place Haley Rose of Decatur by 12 Gore, who placed 113th with a seconds, time of 27 minutes, 3 seconds. not have enough runners to post Sophomore Ava McKallip wasOther girls teams who com- a team score. Jon Thomas Smith laced 55th out of 168 total run- MP's top individual girls finisher, peted on Saturday in order from placing 14th out of 157 total run- highest to lowest finish included: ners with a time of 22 minutes, 56 ners with a time of 21 minutes, 54 Landmark Christian, Decatur, seconds, Hunter Benson placed seconds. Other MP girls runners Jones County, Perry, Northgate, 84th with a time of 24 minutes, 4 who recorded counting times Pike County, LaGrange, North- side (Columbus), Howard, Lamar County, ACE, Fayette County, Jackson and Griffin. Also, the MP IV girls team placed seventh out of eight JV teams with 176 points at Rock Ranch on Saturday. Mcintosh was the W girls meet champion with 24 points, followed by second- place Whitewater with 45 points. Decatur placed third with 67points. Perry's Emma Ellis was the IV girls individual champion with a time of 24 minutes, 23 sec- onds, besting second-place Julianne York of Whitewater by 43 seconds. MP's top individual IV girls finisher was Skyler Sandefur, who placed 31st out of 78 total runners with a time of 29 minutes, 32 seconds. Other MP JV girls runners who recorded counting times included: Chloe Kell, who placed 59th with a time of 34 minutes, 6 seconds, Rebecca Jones, who placed 61st with a time of 34 minutes, 12 seconds, Noon Imsuksri, who placed 62nd with a time of 34 minutes, 12 seconds, and Milly Supi- chayapak, who placed 74th with a time of 37 minutes, 46 seconds. Other IV girls teams who competed on Saturday in order from highest to lowest finish included: Paideia, Howard, Pike County and Fayette County. The Mary Persons varsity and IV cross country teams will next travel to Milled- geville to compete in the Baldwin Invitational at 9 a.m. on Saturda The Monroe County Middle School boys cross country team also competed at Rock Ranch on Saturday, placing 13th out of 17 teams with 341 points. West Laurens was the C-Team boys champion with 55 points, holding off second-place Renfroe, which finished with 62 points. Pike County placed third with 119 points. West Laurens' Wil- liam Kellam was the C-Team boys individual champion with a time of 11 minutes, 23 seconds, besting second-place Nicholas Andrews of Trinity Sharpsburg by 42 seconds. Monroe County's top individual boys finisher was Dylan Garza, who placed 33rd out of 237 total runners with a time of 13 minutes, 57 Seconds. Other Monroe Coun- ty boys runners who recorded counting times included: Leighton Judd, who placed 79th with a time of 15 minutes, 17 seconds, Cole Battles, who placed 93rd with a time of 15 minutes, 39 seconds, Johnathan Ligeikis, who placed ll8th with a time of 16 minutes, 13 seconds, and Todd McCall, who placed 132nd with a time of 16 minutes, 37 seconds. Other Monroe County boys runners who competed on Satur- day but did not record counting times included: Caleb Moore, who placed 174th with a time of 18 minutes, 7 seconds, and Landon Smith, who placed 216th with a time of 20 minutes, 58 seconds. Other C-Team boys squads in attendanceon Saturday in order from highest to lowest finish included: Trinity Sharpsburg, Oak Hill, Gardner-Newman, Paideia, Lamar County, Eagles Land- ing Christian, Rehobath Road, Heritage, Upson-Lee, ACE, Long Cane, Henderson and Perry. Meanwhile, the Monroe County Middle School girls cross coun- try team also competed at Rock Ranch on Saturday, placing sixth out of 16 teams with 173 points. Renfroe was the C-Team girls champion with 75 points followed by Pike County in second place with 98 points. Perry finished one point behind Pike County in third place with 99 points. Perry's Ava Garrett was the girls individual champion with a time of 13 min- utes, 29 seconds, beating second- place Shaft Brown of Landmark by 12 seconds. Monroe County's top individual girls finisher was Jessica Goodwin, who placed 11th out of 182 total runners with a time of 14 minutes, 34 seconds. Other Monroe Coun- ty girls runners who recorded counting times included: Alanna Woods, who placed 15th with a time of 14 minutes, 51 seconds, Ava Hill, who placed 51st with a time of 17 minutes, 20 seconds, Kadence Brown, who placed 59th with a time of 17 minutes, 29 seconds, and Madelyn Cause); who placed 63rd with a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds. Other Monroe County girls run- ners who competed on Saturday but did not record counting times included: Ella Magda, who placed 85th with a time of 18 minutes, 38 seconds, Mary Alice Marks, who placed 91st with a time of 19 minutes, Ziambria Slaughter, who placed 93rd with a time of 19 min- utes, 6 seconds, and Amelia Jones, who placed 135th with a time of 22 minutes, 7 seconds. Other C-Team girls squads in attendance on Saturday in order from highest to lowest finish in- cluded: Landmark, West Laurens, Trinity Sharpsburg, Gardner- Newman, Oak Hill, ACE, Re- hobath Road, Lamar County, Henderson, Crawford County, Long Cane and Eagles Landing Christian. The Monroe County Middle School cross country teams will next compete at home at the Mon- roe County Recreation Depart- ment at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the Central Georgia Middle School Cross Country Championships. The Reporter talked to Austin Franklin, sports editor for the The Upson Beacon, about MP's region showdown with Upson- Lee on Friday. Visit www. upsonbeacon.com o view Franklin's work. Q.) Is Upson-Lee starting to see the talent and ath- leticism that it has displayed on the basketball court for the past few years taking shape in its football pro- gram in 2018? have energized our com- are the Knights running in to move the ball through munity and fan support 2018? Is their talented run- the air as Davis has passed ofaU UL program and ninggame capable ofmov- nearly 1,000 yards during renewed UEs school spirit, ing the ball against a tough the first haft of the season. Mary Persons defense? q.) Upson-Lee has the highest-rated recruit in Middle Geor- gia. How are the Knights utilizing Tra- yon Walker this season to best take advantage of his vast skill set? FRANKLIN A.) Upson Lee has moved Walker from the defen- A.) Both UL programs sire line where he spent have seen success over the his first three seasons to a past two years with the linebacker position, which UL basketball program frees him up and allows winning back-to-back state him to utilize his length championships and the UL and speed from sideline to football program making sideline. The move has led the state playoffs. Only one to fewer double teams than player, Travon Walker, has he was accustomed to on played for both the bas- the defensive line. ketball and football teams. Ul2s state championships Q.) What kind of offense A.) The Knights are running a spread offense this season and have been dicking on all cylinders since sophomore quar- terback Jake Davis was inserted into the starting lineup after UEs opening game defeat to Veterans. UL has always been known as a predominately run- first team, but Davis gives the Knights a different look. The pocket passer can really throw the ball well. Since the quarterback change the Knights have been very dose to having an even run/pass play call distribution. Doing this has allowed the Knights to keep defenses guessing and has increased offensive production. The Knights will use the run to keep the Bulldogs honest, but I would look for the Knights Q.) With former Mary Persons quarterback Justin Elder now at the helm, do you expect to see the Bull- dogs-Knights rivalry to take off and become one of the top head-to-head matchups in Middle Georgia? A.) Mary Persons has beaten Upson Lee the past four seasons, but with a win Friday under Coach Justin Elder, after the nail- biter last season, I think it would be safe to say that a rivalry has been renewed. Q.) Seeing as how close Upson-Lee came to pulling a shocking upset at Dan Pitts Stadium last year, do Knights" coaches, fans and/ or observers believe this year's Upson-Lee squad has the right combination of personnel and experience to knock MP off of its perch atop Region 2-AAAA? A.) UL is a very young team that has sophomores, juniors and first-year start- ers all over the field. The Knights have little depth on the bench, but have over-achievers everywhere. Coming off of big wins over powerhouse Grif- fin, and region foe Perry, the Knights, and Knight Country believe that this UL team can beat anyone on their schedule. The Knights have made up for their inexperience with a very tough and gruel- ing non-region schedule. UL has the No. 3 ranked strength of schedule out of all AAAA teams in the Top 25. Upson Lee has the hardest strength of schedule in the region with no other team in Region 2-AAAA being in the top 10 in strength of schedule rankings. The Knights were put through the ringer early in the season and those tough matchups have helped their inexpe- rienced players grow and learn quickly. Momentum and recent success has built a winning atmo- sphere and a belief they can beat Mary Persons and contend for a region cham- pionship. Q) Do you have a predic- tion on Friday's game? A.) On paper, the Bull- dogs should win big over the Knights, as has been the case in almost every game for the Knights this season. But UL has won four of its six games this season. The Knights are a gritty team and have been in battles all season long, something Mary Persons has not experienced this season. In a very tight game I think the Knights have the advantage, hav- ing been in the situation multiple times already this season. So for that reason, I think the Knights win at home 26-24.