Photo: Southside High’s Camryn Davis (pictured) and Taylor Nails finished in first place in the Etowah County Schools cross country meet on Oct. 25 at Rainbow Middle School. (Gary Wells)
By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
The Southside High Panthers swept the Etowah County cross country meet on Oct. 25, as both the boys and girls’ teams won county championships at Rainbow Middle School.
Southside senior Taylor Nails led the way for the boys’ team, which is ranked No. 2 in the state, as he clocked in at just under 17 minutes in the 5K race at 16:59.5. For the girls, who are ranked No. 7 in the state, freshman Camryn Davis finished first for the Panthers and overall with a time of 20:34.
Eight runners from the Southside boys’ team finished in the top 10, including Nails, Ryan Maudsley (17:36), Will Anglea (18:08), Mason Williamson (18:35), Grayson Ru-ssell (18:40), Parker Cunningham (19:12), Garrett McWhorter (19:15) and Hayden Tucker (19:19).
Hokes Bluff’s Sam Green (18:47) and Jackson Millander (19:18) finished sixth and ninth, respectively.
The Lady Panthers had six girls finish in the top 10, including Davis, Karina Simmons (22:27), Alexis Valentine (22:31), Amira Augustus (22:57), Lanora Hill (22:57) and Enslee Clough (23:11). Southside’s total of 25 points was 22 points better than second-place Glencoe.
Glencoe’s Katie Giles finished second with a time of 22 minutes flat, followed by Sardis’ Barit Snead at 22:15. Anna Beth Giles finished sixth for Glencoe with a time of 22:53, and Sarah Burger finished ninth overall for Sardis at 23:03.
“Everybody ran well as a team,” Taylor Nails said. “It gives us confidence going into sectionals with everybody running so fast and getting their times down. It’s that time of year when we need to peak.”
Sectionals for the Panthers are on Friday, Nov. 2 at Choccolocco Park in Oxford. Davis said the team’s strong performance at the county meet was a very important confidence builder as the Lady Panthers attempt to qualify for state.
“It boosts my confidence because now I know what I’m capable of, and I just need to push myself a little bit more to get to the lower time that I want to get,” Davis said. “Team-wise, I know if we have good mental toughness, then we can get to where we need to be and make it to state this year.”
Southside coach Kim Nails believes her team is peaking at the right time heading into the biggest meet of the season.
“You always want to peak at the right time, and I feel like we’re definitely peaking at the right time,” Nails said. “That’s what you want. All the training and work they’ve put in from the summer on is working up to this point. We’re really excited about where we’re at and how we’re going to finish.
“We created the course, and we want to thank the Gadsden Mega Sports Complex Authority.”