Both the boys and girls cross country teams for North Hall raced to top overall finishes to win the 2018 Hall County cross country Championships Saturday at Chestnut Mountain Elementary in Flowery Branch.
The North Hall boys produced three top-10 individual finishes — including the race winner — to claim the title ahead of second-place Gainesville and third-place Chestatee. Meanwhile, the Lady Trojans did not see their best runner of the day cross first, though still recorded four top-10 finishes, more than enough to win bragging rights as this year's Hall County Champions.
It wasn’t the easiest course by any means according to North Hall cross country coach Sam Borg. But he liked the way both teams changed gears down the stretch.
“It was a good challenge for everybody, and I’m just real proud of the kids for how hard they had to work to win," Borg said. "...At the mile mark, the boys and the girls were losing the race. But then they did a really good job over the second-half of the race, moving up and picking up positions. It’s a fun way to win it — coming from behind."
North Hall’s Devan Crow was the top individual runner in the race, crossing the finish first in 16 minutes, 32.2 seconds — 20.7 seconds faster than second-place finisher Collin Kilgore (16:52.9) of Flowery Branch. North Hall’s Andrew Jones (17:02.0) was not far behind his teammate as he took third, followed by Gainesville’s Miguel Lopez (17:10.8) in third. Crossing fourth and fifth, respectively were Chestatee’s Luke Gaddis (17:20.1) and Kyle Boyd (17:44.8) of Cherokee Bluff.
For the girls, Hannah Grainger was the top individual runner in the county championship, winning the race with a time of 21:20.6 and boosting Flowery Branch to a second-place overall finish ahead of third-place Gainesville. Ashley Thompson (21:28) led the way for the Lady Red Elephants as she finished second. North Hall’s Elissa Oliver (22:02.2) and Caylee Wagner (22:12.3) were third and fourth, respectively. Cherokee Bluff’s Sierra Wainer (22:36.6) was fifth.
North Hall will reset for its next big meet, the Mountain Invitational this Thursday at Unicoi State Park in Helen.
Compiled by Sarah Woodall