Canes improve times at Clara Bowl

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Cartersville High cross country coach David Matherne, a Berry alumnus, ran in the Clara Bowl Invitational mixed open division at Berry College Saturday morning. Matherne placed fourth out of about 100 runners with a time of 18:32.71.

“Of course, I graduated from Berry, so it’s always fun to return to my alma mater,” he said. “The [CHS runners] do like to hear what I ran so they can try to beat it.”

Matherne set the tone for a solid showing by his prep runners in the next two races as the Canes and Lady Canes improved on their times from their first meet.

“I was happy. We had a meet last week at Ridge Ferry. It was a little bit tougher course. Berry is not a hard course, but it’s a little bit tougher than Ridge Ferry, which is flat as a river,” Matherne said of his runners’ performance. “The times were roughly the same. So it was a better effort to run the same time on a harder course. I like the way our folks are preparing. They’ve been working really hard. They had a hard week of practice, so they were a little dead-legged.”

The Cartersville boys finished 26th out of 36 teams while the girls came in 30th out of 33 teams. However, Matherne said the competition was stiff.

“It’s like a state meet where all the best teams were in one race—it had Lambert and St. Pius, Blessed Trinity, three or four out-of-state teams—just programs that are elite. So we had our hands full,” Matherne said. “Our girls were 30th out of 33, but their times were better than last week, and that’s all you can expect, improvement. Our boys were 26th out of 36. So while that sounds like we’re toward the back, the 25 teams that beat us are a who’s who, just a lot of great teams.”

Matherne pointed out Will Pruitt among the boys for having a strong race.

“He stood out. It just looked like he was 100 percent better than last week. He looked fleet of foot and did not look strained at all. He looked very relaxed and composed and ran a good, solid race,” Matherne said. “Robby [Earick] and Andy [Sims] were stride for stride the whole way. They work really well together. They ran some great times. We were solid through seven.”

For the girls, "Krystinn Dabbs was a high point because she moved into fourth position, but she ran a strong race. Caroline Fahey ran about 25 minutes again, which is solid for somebody who has never run [before this season]. Of course, Kayla [Carpenter] had another strong race and Vanna [Beach] up front. Victoria Martino cut a good bit of time off, too. It was a good solid race.”

Cartersville will compete again next week in the Winder Barrow Invitational.