Giles, Stevens highlight All-Messenger cross country team

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Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Katie Giles and Joe Stevens finished out their high school cross country careers in fine fashion this past fall.
A senior at Glencoe, Giles overcame a nagging leg injury to win two 5K events and finish runner-up in four. She posted eight top-10 finishes and placed in the top 10 in 11 out of her 13 races this season. Giles won her third straight Etowah County Meet, won the Class 3A Section 3 Meet and came in sixth out of 148 runners in the AHSAA state meet. She helped the Lady Yellow Jackets win the program’s first-ever county meet and finish as the top public school in the state for the second straight year. She recently committed to the University of South Alabama in Mobile.
“Katie is not only an amazing runner with a phenomenal work ethic,” said Glencoe cross country coach Christie Arthur. “She’s also an outstanding role model who leads by example. She’s always encouraging her teammates, not only in running but life in general. She’s just as happy for her teammates’ success as for her own success, and the other kids on the team look up to her. Katie’s in the running for valedictorian of her class and made a 36 on her ACT [exam], so she’s a dream as far as a student-athlete goes. She has the drive to achieve what she wants to achieve.”
As the defending Class 4A state champion, Stevens improving his season PR by 11 seconds at 16:06.36 at the state meet while finishing third out of 167 runners. He placed no lower than sixth in all nine of his races with two first-place showings and three runner-up finishes. He also was the Class 4A 3200-meter run champion for 2021 outdoor track season.
“Joe is not only a great runner in his own right; he’s a great role model for the rest of our team,” said Ashville cross country coach Michele Rogers. “Our other kids see Joe’s success and how hard he works and how he carries himself, and they’re willing to follow his example.”
Rogers pointed to Stevens’ mental acumen as a key factor in his success.
“I don’t think people realize just how much long-distance running is a strategy sport. Joe always comes in with a strategy, then goes out and executes it. He always seems to be one step ahead of the competition in that area. He’s a great young man who is fun to be around, and we’re going to miss him. He’s definitely left his mark on our program.”
Stevens is currently considering offers from the University of Mobile and Huntingdon College.
“The one thing Joe said he wants to do at the next level is to be a contributing factor,” said Rogers. “He really wants to be a competitive part of a team right away.”

2022 All-Messenger cross country team

Girls MVP: Katie Giles, Sr., Glencoe

Boys MVP: Joe Stevens, Sr, Ashville

Girls Coach of the Year: Karen Cothran, Glencoe

Boys Coach of the Year: Kim Nails, Southside

Girls first team
Katie Giles, senior, Glencoe: 20:18.83
Sarah Ponder, 8th grade, Glencoe: 20:35.69
Taylor Knight, junior, Ashville: 20:40.94
Sarah Burger, senior, Southside: 21:02.93
Barit Snead, junior, Sardis: 21:23.28
Boys first team
Joe Stevens, senior, Ashville: 16:06.36
Jackson Griggs, senior, Southside: 16:14.93
Evan Christopher, sophomore, Southside: 16:16.32
Max Valentine, junior, Southside: 16:55.05
Bryer Morrison, senior, Hokes Bluff: 17:14.11
Girls second team
Emma Godfrey, 7th grade, Hokes Bluff: 21:23.62
Karlee Tarpley, freshman, West End: 21:32.90
Mallory Tucker, freshman, Southside: 21:50.14
Chloe Douglas, Glencoe, 8th grade: 22:16.56
Marissa Bozarth, Sardis, 7th grade: 22:38.74
Boys second team
Ryan Matthews, junior, Ashville: 17:20.91
Hayden Tucker, senior, Southside: 17:37.30
Conner Cothran, senior, Glencoe: 18:14.72
Ethan Patterson, sophomore, Hokes Bluff: 18:17.32
Sanjay Wright, senior, Southside: 18:18.14
Girls third team
Taylor Dortch, sophomore, Southside: 22:39.73
Marlee Tucker, 7th grade, Southside: 22:40.84
Allie Jo Amos, sophomore, Glencoe: 22:44.38

Jaxson Sizemore, senior, Glencoe: 22:47.00
Zoie Menk, sophomore, Southside: 22:47.46

Boys third team
Bruce Pantoja, junior, Ashville: 18:19.31
Bram Van Gils, junior, Southside: 18:20.09
Conner Strawn, senior, Glencoe: 18:28.20
Mithun Rameshkumar, junior, Gadsden City: 18:33.55
Auggie Lemonds, junior, Ashville: 18:39.38
Girls honorable mention
Molly Northam, junior, Ashville: 22:49.22
Kaylee Tarpley, junior, West End: 23:17.84
Skylar Stephens, sophomore, Gadsden City: 23:31.03
Adalyn Phillips, sophomore, Southside: 23:34.49
Riley Hulsey, 7th grade, Southside: 23:36.53
Boys honorable mention
Matthew Battles, freshman, Southside: 18:46.36
Mason Miller, senior, Hokes Bluff: 18:46.70
Jackson Brown, sophomore, Southside: 18:50.25
Jonathan Lusk, senior, Sardis: 19:05.52
Aidan Pierce, freshman, Sardis: 19:12.90

 

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