Girls Runner of the Year:White County's Jenna Gearing
Cross Country Coach of the Year: Riverside's Jim Myers
All Area Cross Country First Team
Notable: Region 8-AA champ; State champ; PR: 19:22
Notable: Region 7-AAA champ (17:43); State champ
Notable: 2nd in 8-AAAA; 16th at state; 3rd at Hall County; PR: 19:36
Notable: 2nd at 7-AAA; 5th at state; three straight Hall County titles; PR: 19:35
Notable: Region 8-A champ; State champ; PR: 21:33
Notable: 2nd at 8-AAAAA; 10th at state; PR: 19:17
Notable: 4th at 8-AAAAA; 14th at state; PR: 15:53
Notable: 3rd at 8-AAAAA; 16th at state; PR: 16:11
Notable: 2nd at 7-AAA; 28th at state; PR: 16:17
Notable: Region 7-AAA champ; 4th at state;
Notable: 3rd at 7-AAA; 8th at state; PR: 16:23
Notable: Region 8-AA champ; 5th at state; PR: 16:30
Notable: Second at 8-AA; 15th at state; PR 20:02
Notable: 6th at 7-AAA; 6th at state; PR: 20:28
Sara Beth English
Notable: Region 8-AAAA champ; 19th at state; 2nd at Hall County; PR: 19:15
Notable: 4th at 8-AAAAA; 18th at state; PR: 19:49
Notable: Third at 7-AAA (20:02); ninth at state
Notable: Fourth at 7-AAA; 24th at state; PR: 19:04
Notable: Fourth at 7-AAA; 19th at state; PR: 16:44
Notable: Eighth at 7-AAA; 17th at state; PR: 16:35
Notable: Third at 8-AA; 14th at state; PR: 16:49
Notable: 10th at 8-AAAAA; 19th at state; PR: 16:31
Notable: Fifth at 8-AAAAA; 17th at state; PR: 16:45
Notable: 16th at 8-A; 17th at state; PR: 16:29
Breanna Fair Fr. Gainesville
Kaitlyn Gearing Jr. White County
Sara Hayes Jr. Gainesville
JaNae Holloway Fr. Lumpkin County
Taylor Long Sr. West Hall
Katie McDowell Sr. North Hall
Sierra Nichols So. Towns County
Megan Norris So. White County
Celeste Norton Fr. Lumpkin County
Sinead O’Bryant Fr. White County
Lisa Vences Sr. Johnson
Caitlin Sheffield Jr. Towns County
Rachel Todd So. Union County
Taylor Vardeman Jr. Towns County
Alex Bache Sr. Chestatee
Logan Brock Fr. Chestatee
Lewis Brooks So. Lakeview
Taylor Calderone Sr. Riverside
Luis Castaneda Jr. Johnson
Jack Carnes So. Chestatee
Jason Dang Jr. Chestatee
Jose Diaz So. Banks County
Tristin Duckworth Fr. Lumpkin County
John Gagnon Sr. Habersham Central
Edgar Guerrero Sr. Chestatee
Jorge Hernandez Sr. Johnson
Lexx Joya So. Riverside
Alex Longoria Sr. Gainesville
Quintin Miles So. North Hall
Christopher Oster Sr. Riverside
Tanner Peacock So. Gainesville
Tuan Pham Sr. Banks County
Bailey Pless Jr. North Hall
Jose Reyes-Lavalee Sr. Chestatee
Jose Rodriguez So. Commerce
Bradley Smith Sr. Towns County
Dalton Snyder Jr. Lakeview
Junior Suarez Fr. Johnson
Austin Thompson So. White County
Bart Velasquez Sr. Chestatee
Drew Wright So. Gainesville
Witt Nix wasn’t always in line to be the top cross country runner at one of the state’s best programs in North Hall.
He spent his entire freshman season on the junior varsity and only moved up to varsity at the tail end of his sophomore season, when he finally rose into the top seven for the region and state meets.
Even when he started his senior season as North Hall’s new No. 1 runner, he was quick to admit that he wasn’t at the same level as the past greats, like Brandon Lawson, Ty McCormack or the runner who got him to focus on the sport, Cody Barger.
There is one attribute that Trojans coach Drew Rogers attests nobody has been better at than Nix: How hard he works.
“He’s not maybe as gifted as some of the others runners we’ve had,” Rogers said. “But nobody could outwork Witt.”
And while the senior may have missed out on his top goal, a team state title, Nix led the team to a third overall finish at the Class AAA state meet, finishing fourth individually with a time of 16 minutes and 46 seconds in Carrollton, after crushing the field to win the Region 7-AAA meet.
For his efforts, Nix is The Times Cross Country Boys Runner of the Year.
While he may not have always been looked at as a future cross country star, Nix has been running for most of his life.
“I’ve been running with my dad since I was 8,” Nix said. “At first he was pretty much dragging me along — he would always have to coax me to be ready for the Peachtree.”
Eventually Nix found satisfaction in running, and his reason is simple.
“I get to see all the hard work I put in directly pay off,” he said. “If you do the work you get faster.”
So Nix worked at it, and kept improving. He joined the cross country program in the seventh grade, but was still just 12th on the team when he began his sophomore year, meaning a second stint on the junior varsity.
But he worked his way up into the top seven, and by his junior season he had secured himself as the No. 3 runner behind seniors Brandon Lawson and Luis Gonzalez.
He entered his senior season as the No. 1 runner, but more importantly as the team captain — no missed day of practice by a fellow runner escaped his attention.
“He was our team captain. I can’t think of a top guy missing practice all year long, but I remember one guy missed a Sunday and that’s all you heard about for two weeks, that he shouldn’t be tired because he took a day off,” Rogers said. “It was all good natured, of course, but it worked.”
With Nix, Tucker LoCicero and Bryce Schuebert already known quantities coming into the season, Rogers said that Nix worked on getting the other runners up to par so that the Trojans could have a shot at the team state title.
“I wanted to be one of the top two in the state and I really wanted the team championship, but St. Pius was incredible on that day, and that wasn’t going to happen,” Nix said of the state finish.
At least he has a chance to get back to a state meet before he tries his hand at running in college. Nix, who ran the 800-meter and 1600 last year in track, plans to run the mile and two-mile this season.
In fact, it was the simple fact of competing in track his sophomore year that sealed his fate as a runner. He had been deciding between track and soccer for the spring, but he said Barger, the 2010 state cross country champ, convinced him to stick with running in all seasons.
“He said if I put in the work, I’d see results,” Nix remembered.
Barger was right. Nix was the top runner at one of the state’s top programs for his senior season, running a 15:55 at the region meet and keeping his competitiveness through meets and practice.
“He wasn’t going to lose to one of his teammates,” Rogers said. “It’s really just his hard work and determination. He doesn’t have great speed, but when he gets to the end of the race, he’s going to win it or die trying. He was not going to give away a race.
“He’s one of these kids that shows that if you can put in the hard work, you’re going to be successful.”