In this pandemic year when almost nothing has gone according to plan, the state cross country meet was no exception to the rule. The meet, originally scheduled for Saturday, October 31, was postponed until Wednesday, November 3 for the safety of the runners due to damage on the course.
“I’m sure the postponement did effect our preparation,” said Coach Ron Love, “but everyone at the State meet had to deal with it also. So I’m going to say that the ones that worked hard all year and ran like they deserve to be there had a great outcome.”
The Lady Indians handily won their regional meet and the Indians ran third on October 24, and at that time, Coach Ron Love said that his teams would have to focus on their mental preparation and improve on their times to make the podium at the state meet.
Marietta Cross Country teams have stood atop the podium many times prior to this year, with the girls winning in 2013, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘18, and ‘19 and the boys winning in 2015, ‘16, and ‘17, and both teams finishing second or third in other years. This year’s squads were able to bring home medals again, both finishing third in the state meet.
The Lady Indians finished with 122 points behind private schools Regent Preparatory Academy with 54 points and Cascia Hall with 109 points. The Lady Indians’ total team time was 1:08:14, less than four minutes behind the first place Regent Prep squad.
Out of a total of 159 runners, Madison Lemons led Marietta in the 3,200-meter race, finishing in sixth place with a time of 12:40.41. In 15th place was Vanessa Rodriguez with a time of 13:22.18, followed closely by Tanasia Randle in 23rd place in 13:45.98 and Isabella Salas Garcia in 35th place with a time of 14:04.90. Jayleigh Blevins was 43rd in 14:20.68, Sophie Love was 54th in 14:40.19, and Kora Humble came in 65th in 14:57.37.
The boys’ state champion Marlow team finished with 62 points, followed by runner-up Keifer with 79. The Indians had 134 points and a total team time of 1:35:23 in the 5k race.
Wyatt Vinson led the Indians in ninth place in 18:00.93. In 17th place was Kyler Williams in 18:36.87, with Wilbert Salas close behind in 27th place in 19:11.33. Preston Eastmon’s 19:39.08 placed him 36th in the race and teammate Will Laws followed in 45th place with a time of 19:55.17. Charles Jones and Austin McQueen closed it out for the Indians in 50th and 57th places with times of 20:02.71 and 20:16.87, respectively.
“We made a good showing at state with both teams finishing 3rd place,” said Love. “I felt like the girls had a chance to finish higher, but it was just a tough day for us, and they did the best they could. Not a lot of people really expected much from the boys, so then making it to the podium surprised some people. But they worked hard and continued to get better all year, so it was a good end to the season for them.”