Madalyn Garland nears the one-mile mark in the Frontrunner Athletics Area Cross-Country Championship at Baylor School in Chattanooga on Thursday. Garland finished the race sixth overall and first for the Golden Eagles with a time of 20:33.89. Garland was also runner-up for the Chattanooga Cross-Country League Runner of the Year.
The Rhea County High School Golden Eagles closed out their regular season at the Front Runner Athletics Area Cross-Country Championship at Baylor School in Chattanooga on Thursday, with the boys finishing 14th and the girls placing ninth.
The meet, which included 43 private and public schools and over 300 runners, is one of the largest in the area.
"Overall I'm happy with how we ran, especially after losing Lorena and Gloria Pascual for the season," said Rhea County Head Coach Steffan Holder. "We could have performed better, though. Our times were not exactly where they needed to be for that course."
In the girls' varsity action, Madalyn Garland once again led the field for the Lady Eagles, placing sixth overall with a time of 20:33.89 and first out of the public school runners.
"I'm very proud of Madalyn," Holder said. "She ran very competitively."
Garland also received runner-up for Runner of the Year for the Chattanooga Area Cross-Country League.
Teammate Kierstynn Conley was the only other Lady Eagle to finish in the top 50, placing 27th out of 144 competitors with a time of 22:02.88. Morgan Bodle (74th), Davinity Tallent (75th), Beverly Hilland (82nd) and Emily Thurman (84th) all finished in the top 100.
Baylor School won the race in the girls' division, with an average time of 19:31.43. The Chattanooga private school also claimed the first four spots, with Hannah Jumper finishing first (18:20.42).
Senior Zach Smith led the pack for the boys, finishing 62nd in 19:17.47. Smith was followed closely by Eagle teammate Devon Johnson, placing 64th out of 210 runners (19:21.65).
Tanner Layne and Brandon Crowe rounded out the Eagle roster, coming in at 91st and 114th.
"The boys finished in the middle of the pack, which is pretty much where they have been all year," said Holder. "We did, however, run much more competitively today than earlier in the season."
Baylor's Simon Holden claimed the first spot in the boys' division, with a time of 17:04.56.
McCallie School came in first in the team standings, while Baylor placed second.
In junior varsity action, junior Bradley Payne (41st) led the Golden Eagles with a time of 20:50.17, a new personal record for the junior runner.
Rhea's Morgan Hidalgo (23rd) and Halie Morgan (51st) were the top finishers in the girls' junior varsity division.
The Lady Golden Eagles finished eighth overall in the league, while the boys team finished 12th.
"We are really going to have to take it to the next level to prepare for regions," Holder said.
"We have one more week to step it up and run much faster."
Rhea County will head to Chickamauga Dam to compete in the region championships Friday.
The race is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
Adam Baldwin can be contacted at email@example.com