Southside wins 10th straight county XC title

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Photo: Southside’s Evan Christopher set what is believed to be a course record (pictured at left) while winning the Etowah County Schools boys cross country meet last Thursday (Oct. 6) in Glencoe. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

It was business as usual last Thursday in Glencoe for the Southside High boys cross country team.

The Panthers had five runners placed in the top 10 on the way to winning their 10th straight Etowah County Schools cross country meet last Thursday (Oct. 6) in Glencoe.

Leading the way for Southside was Evan Christopher, who ran what is believed to be a county meet record time of 16:39.5.

“It feels really good, he said. “My original plan was to try and stay with the pack, but I felt really good when I got out, so I just decided to take the lead and hold on. It was a little mentally tougher no having anyone around me, but it turned out that I did pretty well. I just want to thank my coaches for spending time with me to help me get better.”

Christopher’s teammate and defending county champion Jackson Griggs clocked in with a runner-up time of 17:07.9., 15 seconds faster than his 2021 time of 17:32.7.

After Hokes Bluff’s Bryer Morrison finished third at 17:34.6, three straight Southside runners crossed the finish line to clinch the first-place trophy – Hayden Tucker (17:37.3), Max Valentine (17:38.3) and Sanjay Wright (18:18.5).

Southside finished with 18 points, followed by Hokes Bluff with 51, Glencoe with 65 and Sardis with 76. The Panthers’ average time of 17:28 was almost three minutes faster than Hokes Bluff’s time (19:19). The top five runners had an average time of approximately 17:30.

“I’m very proud of our guys,” said Southside coach Kim Nails. “They’ve won [the county meet] now 10 years in a row, and there is always pressure on the next group to win. This group has worked really hard since June in putting in mileage and workouts. All credit to them for their improvement over the year. There was a lot of PR’s out there today from our whole team, as well as other runners throughout the county.”

Rounding out the top 10 were Glencoe’s Conner Strawn in seventh place (18:28.2), Hokes Bluff’s Ethan Patterson in eighth place (18:44.9), Hokes Bluff’s Mason Miller in ninth place (18:46.7) and Sardis’ Jonathan Lusk in 10thplace (19:06.9).

Rounding out the top 10 were Glencoe’s Conner Strawn in seventh place (18:28.2), Hokes Bluff’s Ethan Patterson in eighth place (18:44.9), Hokes Bluff’s Mason Miller in ninth place (18:46.7) and Sardis’ Jonathan Lusk in 10th place (19:06.9).

“It’s great to see our county schools getting stronger and stronger in cross country,” said Nails. “I believe [cross country] is among the purist and best sports a kid can take on. Congratulations to all of our teams in the county for great runs.”

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