Two schools were crowned state champions last Saturday, as East Union and Myrtle picked up top honors at the MHSAA cross country championships.
Myrtle swept 1A action, taking the title in both boys and girls.
West Union’s Devin Brock won the overall title, finishing first with a time of 18:18.90, but the next four runners were represented by Myrtle, as Justin Pickens, Bryan Cook, Heriah Dodson and Will Gregory rounded out the top five.
Reed Williams of West Union was also a top 10 finisher, finishing right after the pack from Myrtle in sixth.
Myrtle finished with 29 total points, followed by 2008 champion West Union with 48 points. Potts Camp finished third and Ingomar finished 10th in the state.
“We ran a good race,” Myrtle coach Chris Greer said. “They did a good job of keeping up with one another and did good.”
On the girls side, Amber Maxey finished first for the Lady Eagles with a time of 16:56.60, outrunning the dominant Lady Hawk duo of Aimee Walker and Halle Knowles, who finished second and third respectively.
Samantha Shettles finished fourth for Myrtle, while Rhagen Hopper and Rachel Peeler finished 12th and 13th to help give Myrtle 32 overall points. Resurrection Catholic High School finished second with 59 points, while West Union was third with 85.
“I think there were some nerves, because we didn’t have our best race of the year,” Greer said of his girls. “Amber Maxey had a great race, and we did well and finished well.”
East Union also picked up a title, as their boys won in 2A.
Jose Valle was the top finisher for the Urchins, as he placed third with a time of 19:11.50. Drew Bruce and Brett Rakestraw were also top 10 finishers, as they were sixth and seventh. This championship is the first ever in the sport for the Urchins.
“We ran our best race of the year,” East Union coach Nathan McLellon said. “Jose, Brett and Drew ran their best race and really stepped up. I also had Cody Dillard back for the first time in over the week as he was battling pneumonia. Considering all he’s been through, it was great to see him finish fifth for us.”
Jonathan Valle came in 11th, as the Urchins had 35 total points, while J.Z. George had 82 in second.
The Lady Urchins came in second behind Our Lady Academy High School, with Katie Rowan and Heather Dillard finishing in the top 10. Allie Epting and Hannah Courtney finished 11th and 12th for the Lady Urchins.
“Heather did good for us in only her second race this year,” McLellon said. “We have a lot of young girls coming back, as we only lose Amy McCullough and Sunnie Knighton. We’ll miss their leadership, as this was our highest finish for the girls. We’ll be strong coming back next season on both sides, as I will have all of the boys returning.”
New Albany came in fifth in 4A boys, as Reed Kitchens was a top ten finisher for the Bulldogs. His mark of 18:10.40 was good for fifth overall. The Lady Bulldogs came in ninth, as Haven Boyd was the top finisher in 27th place.
Top 20 results by class
1 Brock, Devin 18:18.9
2 Pickens, Justin 18:40.3
3 Cook, Bryan 18:49.3
4 Dodson, Heriah 18:49.5
5 Gregory, Will 18:54.0
6 Williams, Reid 18:57.3
13 Gordon, Matthew 19:32.0
14 Stevens, Timothy 19:32.2
16 Taylor, Kevin 19:38.9
17 Atkinson, Wesley 19:42.7
1 Maxey, Amber 16:56.3
2 Walker, Aimee 17:12.6
3 Knowles, Halle 17:23.3
4 Shettles, Samantha 17:24.9
12 Hopper, Rhagen 18:26.6
13 Peeler, Rachel 18:37.3
18 Higgins, Lizzi 19:01.1
19 Newby, Allie 19:03.7
3 Valle, Jose 19:11.5
6 Bruce, Drew 20:06.4
7 Rakestraw, Brett 20:13.8
11 Valle, Jonathan 20:25.5
13 Dillard, Cody 20:28.2
6 Rowan, Katie 18:16.6
8 Dillard, Heather 18:39.8
11 Epting, Allie 19:01.0
12 Courtney, Hannah 19:07.7
16 Kiddy, Gabi 19:36.9
18 Knighton, Sunnie 19:48.5
5 Kitchens, Reed 18:10.4
16 Waldrop, Jimbo 19:00.0
*EU’s first state title in boys, back-to back- for Myrtle girls