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North Hall boys, Chestatee girls win county cross country titles

Trojans' Schuebert, Ellis run to first-place finishes

POSTED: October 10, 2013 12:26 a.m.

The twists and turns of Chestatee High School’s cross country course aren’t likely to produce any record-breaking times.

They didn’t, however, stop one runner from earning his first county title or another from getting her first win in any varsity race at the Hall County Championships on Wednesday. And, of course, two teams claimed county bragging rights for the event’s 25th running.

Bryce Schuebert continued North Hall’s tradition of winning the boys race, fellow junior Trojan Makayla Ellis made her debut atop the varsity podium in the girls race, and the North Hall boys and Chestatee girls took home county titles in the team standings.

The Trojan boys, ranked second in Class AAA, claimed their fifth consecutive county title by securing the top four spots and sixth place, led by Schuebert’s time of 16 minutes, 38.5 seconds. Their 16 points were 68 better than second-place Gainesville.

Chestatee’s girls didn’t have it quite as easy, finishing only 12 points ahead of second-place North Hall, but the War Eagles’ second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishes helped them overcome Ellis’ individual victory in the team standings.

“We know that we can take people in the second and third mile and not necessarily the first mile,” Chestatee girls coach Meghann Pruett said. “We got second, third, fourth, fifth and 10th. With numbers like that, you can’t lose.”

Ellis jumped out in front early in the race and maintained a sizable lead the rest of the way, finishing at 20:24.56.

She successfully held off Chestatee’s Sarah Beth English, who placed second at 21:09.71, followed by the War Eagles’ Maggee Wilson (21:28.72), Merrie Barnett (21:43.57) and Abbie Cliche (21:48.50).

“I was expecting them to catch me at some point, because I thought I went faster than I needed to at the beginning,” Ellis said. “I think just being scared that they would made me run a little faster.

“It’s kind of exciting. I didn’t think I would ever do this, so I’m happy.”

With the county title in hand, the Lady War Eagles — ranked fourth in Class AAAA — will continue their run at the state championship, which is Nov. 9 in Carrollton.

They have two races remaining until the Region 8-AAAA meet on Oct. 30 Williams Mill Park in Flowery Branch. The War Eagles are the defending region champions, along with the Chestatee boys.

“No races, to us, matter until region and state,” Pruett said. “This is bragging rights, so it’s a big deal, and we’re proud to have beaten everyone. But you’re only as good as your last race. We have to train every single day and run our hardest, and that’s what we do every single day."

Schuebert stayed close with teammate Quintin Miles in the boys race before breaking away down the final stretch. He ended up six seconds ahead of Miles’ 16:44.22 second-place time.

Zack Hill (16:59.78) and Seth Chapman (17:01) placed third and fourth to ensure the team win for North Hall. Only Dustin Snyder of Lakeview Academy could break up a complete Trojans sweep by placing fifth at 17:04.

“We weren’t really going for the time,” said Schuebert, who wasn’t overly pleased with his time on the demanding course.

“We were going for the run as a team and see how we do with the other people in our county. It’s almost a breather before we get to the really, really serious stuff. I don’t want to say this was easy competition — there are some really good guys here. It’s a check-up, almost.”

North Hall was missing its primary cross country rival, Flowery Branch, which is ranked first in Class AAAAA but elected not to compete in the Hall County Championships. The two teams met earlier this season at the Northeast Georgia Championships in Athens, with the Trojans holding off the Falcons and winning the entire meet.

Nevertheless, North Hall coach Drew Rogers still wasn’t expecting his team to sweep the top four.

“Hall County has gotten a lot better the last four years,” Rogers said. “Lakeview has some really good kids, Johnson has a really good kid, Chestatee’s not bad. We always expect to come here and win, so that’s not a big surprise, but to get one, two, three, four and six is better than we expected to do.”

North Hall continues to challenge itself with a series of tough races throughout October. The Trojans will run in the Asics Invitational on Saturday, an event that features several state-ranked teams, followed by the Coach Wood Invitational the following weekend at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus.

“We’re looking at those races right now to see where we stand in the state,” Rogers said. “After that, we’ll start looking at region and state.”


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