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Chestatee sweeps races at Hall County cross country championships
War Eagles racing for injured coach who was injured while running when hit by a vehicle
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North Hall High's Devan Crow and Johnson High's Issac Hernandez near the finish of their run during the Hall County Cross Country Championships on Tuesday at Maginnis Field at Riverside Military Academy. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Hall County championships
at Riverside Military Academy
Boys Team Results
Team Points

1. Chestatee 42
2. North Hall 51
3. Gainesville 69
4. Johnson 101
5. West Hall 114
6. Lakeview Academy 129
7. East Hall 214
8. Riverside Military 216

Girls Team Results
Team Points

1. Chestatee 26
2. North Hall 32
3. Johnson 81
4. Lakeview Academy 131
5. West Hall 133
6. Gainesville 136

Individual Finishers
Hall County championships
at Riverside Military Academy
Name School Time

1.Issac Hernandez Johnson 15:38
2. Devan Crow North Hall 15:42
3. Ivan Martin Chestatee 15:51
4. Tommy Johnston North Hall 15:53
5. Carter Robinson North Hall 16:29
6. Tony Martinez Chestatee 16:33
7. Daniel Ruiz Gainesville 16:36
8. Alex Sosa Gainesville 16:40
9. Edwin Amaya Chestatee 16:51
10. Wright Allen Lakeview 17:01

1. Lindsay Grater Chestatee 20:13
2. Mattie Bohanan North Hall 21:03
3. Megan Dew Chestatee 21:13
4. Dennis Gomez Chestatee 21:17
5. Bertha Alejo-Cruz Chestatee 21:21
6. Hennebry Waters North Hall 21:35
7. Madilyn Patterson North Hall 21:38
8. Georgina Hoffman North Hall 21:42
9. Morgan Mize North Hall 21:43
10. Molly Hayes Johnson 21:52

Lindsey Grater was speaking for the entire Chestatee High cross country program after winning the girls’ race in Hall County championship on Tuesday.

With the Twitter hashtag #run4Merck written in thick black ink on her right arm, the Lady War Eagles’ junior was first to cross the finish line on the track of Maginnis Field at Riverside Military Academy.

“We won this one today for coach Merck,” said Grater, a two-time Hall County champion, who ran a time of 20 minutes, 13 seconds. “It’s really special.”

Chestatee High coach Stacey Merck is recovering in an Atlanta hospital after being hit by a truck while running with team members Sunday morning in North Hall. Before the race Tuesday, Merck sent a message to her team wishing them well in the county championship race, just before the coach went into facial surgery to repair injuries, according to Grater.

The War Eagles’ teams came away with a clean sweep in team titles at Riverside Military. Behind Grater’s individual title and four of the top five runners, the Lady War Eagles were able to edge out second-place North Hall. Led by Ivan Martin’s third-place finish (15:51) in the boys race and placing three runners in the top 10, Chestatee’s boys also edged out North Hall for the team title.

Everyone at Chestatee was mostly focused on doing something to make the coach recovering from a serious accident proud. Each of the Chestatee runners ran the race with the same hashtag visible: some on their arm, others on their leg, while some had it printed on the back of their shirt.

“Everything we did out here today was all for her (Merck),” said Chestatee’s Logan Kiser, who finished 18th in the girls’ race.

Grater won the girls’ race by 50 seconds. She was Hall County champion in 2014 when the county meet was last contested at Riverside Military. After a strong early kick Tuesday, the Lady War Eagles’ junior made it to the parking lot of the football stadium with a commanding lead and was running alone for the lap around the track to the finish line.

Johnson senior Issac Hernandez emerged from a more closely-contested boys race to finish first among four runners who all came in under 16 minutes, with a time of 15:38. Behind Hernandez, who won for the first time this year, were North Hall’s Devan Crow (15:42), Chestatee’s Martin (15:51) and Tommy Johnston of North Hall (15:53).

In the girls’ race, North Hall’s Mattie Bohanan was second (21:03), followed by a trio of Chestatee runners: Megan Dew (21:13), Dennis Gomez (21:17) and Bertha Alejo-Cruz (21:21).