The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta High School and Valdosta Middle School cross-country teams competed in the 12th Annual Tift Invitational at ABAC on Saturday. The best performances of the day were turned in by the VMS boys squad and its top runner, Noah Richards, both of whom finished first. The VHS girls also brought home a trophy, while other individual runners for both the high school and middle school teams won medals.
The VMS boys placed first out of 12 schools, just ahead of second-place Lee County and third-place Berrien County. Leading the way for VMS was Richards, who blistered the 3200 meter course in a time of 11:44. In an exciting final 200 meters, Richards out-sprinted Berrien’s Gilbert Haven and Colquitt County’s Jake Merritt to finish as the overall winner by just three seconds. VMS’ Will Krispin also earned a place on the medal stand, finishing 10th out of 122 runners. Other scorers for Coach Ryan Kelly’s junior Cats were Davis Baldwin (12th), Darian Rowe (13th), and Braden Colbert (22nd).
The VMS girls placed fourth out of 11 schools, behind meet winner Tift Middle School, second-place Colquitt County, and third-place Berrien County. Madeline Posse was the top runner for the VMS girls, finishing 5th out of 120 runners. Other top finishers for the middle school girls were Rachel Massengill (15th), Sophia Noll (24th), Nathalee Simoneau (32nd), and Raquel Goddard (33rd).
The best team performance for VHS was turned in by the girls, who placed third out of 11 schools, behind meet winner Camden County and host Tift County. Liz Kelley was the top runner for Coach Jim Dawkins’ squad, finishing 12th overall out of 121 runners. Also scoring for VHS were Desmeonna Mcduffie (24th), Zakirra Mckinnon (37th), Maya Lee (38th), and Ally Orenstein (40th). The VHS girls managed the third-place finish without the services of their top runner, junior Leah Michaels, who missed the meet with a foot injury.
The VHS boys finished 10th out of 15 schools, behind meet winner Worth County, second-place Camden County and third-place Bainbridge. Freshman Matthew Baun was the top VHS runner, placing 6th out of 173 runners while covering the 3.1 mile course in a time of 17:44. In his debut season for the Cats, the former GISA middle school state champion has placed in the top ten in every varsity meet this season except one. Other top finishers for the VHS boys were Luke Justice (50th), Spencer Thomas (59th), Chris Hanson (82nd), and Eddie Taylor (113th).
Both the VHS and VMS cross country teams will be in action again this weekend. The VMS harriers will compete Saturday in the Yellow Jacket XC Invitational at Greenwood Plantation in Thomasville, hosted by Thomas County Central High School, as they prep for the Region 1AAAAAA meet at Freedom Park on October 31. The VMS cross country team will close out the season Saturday by competing in the Georgia State Middle School Cross Country Championships in Cochran.