The runners punched their tickets to compete in Carrollton in the Nov. 9 state event by virtue of their performances in the Region 7-AAAA championships held Friday at Roper Mountain Park on a very challenging and hilly cross country course.
Jaison Morning, who led much of the race, was passed by two Pickens County runners in the final quarter mile to finish third with a personal best time of 16:44.
The Lady Colonels finished fourth as a team with 115 points while the Colonels finished seventh with 149 points.
“Freshman Jana Morning got the scoring started with a great race and being very competitive to hang on to third place in a time of 20:22 and qualify as an individual at the state meet,” head coach David Rawlings said.
Placing second on the girls team was Savannah Hardin. “[She had] just another great race in 12th place with a time of 21:50,” the coach said.
Finishing third was Payton Rogers, who pushed through with a 23rd place and time of 23:20. In fourth was Stephanie Robledo with a strong race and in 34th place with a time of 23:55. Fifth place was taken by Esmeralda Thomas with a 43rd place and time of 24:58.
Also finishing strong for the Lady Colonels were Lizzy Pahl, 57th place, 27:33; Angelica Victoria, 62nd, 29:02; Maria Crespo, 29:21; and Hailey Ritter, 29:58.
“The girls team had an awesome race finishing fourth in the region,” Rawlings said. “This by far is the toughest region in the state in the AAAA rating with many [of] the teams being in the top 10 rankings in the state.
“The girls team has had many trials this year with injuries but has always been able to overcome them. They ran a great race and I am very proud of each of them for the hard work they have put in. All the ladies stepped it up and came through when they needed to. I look forward to a great race from them at the state meet. I think we can be in the Top 10 if all things come together.”
Jaison Morning will be running at the state meet on Nov. 9 at the Carrollton Course at 9:10 a.m.
The girls team will be running at 9:50 a.m.
"Jaison ran a smart race and did what he had to do to make it to the state meet,” Rawlings said. “He took the lead at the beginning when nobody wanted to and hung on till about the third mile. Great race and look forward to a Top 10 finish at the state meet.”
A number of other Colonels also turned in good performances.
“The boys team ran a great race,” Rawlings said.
Second for the team was senior Jordan Morning in a time of 18:17. In third was senior Seth Wood, with a time of 19:29, while fourth place was taken by Logan Sorenson in 19:42.
Fifth for the Colonels was Tyler Smith in a time of 21:24. Rounding out the team were Marcus Riley, 22:01; Chanden Franklin, 23:32; Spencer Rawlins, 23:16; and Camen Matthews, 25:17.
Rawlings said Sorenson finished the last mile with a cramp in his side or he would have turned in an even better time.