Harriers Finish Season at State Meet

The runners have taken their positions and the starter raises his arms, a flag in one hand and a starter’s pistol in the other. The gun goes off, legs start moving, and elbows fly, as runners jet away from the starting line.

This was Stratford’s first GHSA cross country state championship, in which both the boys and girls teams competed on Nov. 8 in Carrollton.  The girls placed 14th out of a field of 16, while the boys placed 15th.

“Our students’ eyes were opened to a completely different level of competition,” Boys Cross Country Coach Ian Hayley said. “All of them performed above and beyond last year.”

Despite this year being Stratford’s first in the GHSA, both the boys and girls teams were ranked in the top 10 at various points during the season.

“The season was long, tiring, and mentally challenging, but enjoyable,” said senior Brighten Donner, who ran a 20:35 on Carrollton’s tough and hilly 5k course.

Both teams made it to state despite a tough region meet, which was held at the Georgia Children’s Home on Oct. 29.

The girls placed second at region after being edged by rival Mount De Sales Academy.

The boys placed fourth behind Mount De Sales, Savannah Country Day School, and First Presbyterian Day School.  Although the boys had hoped to do better at region, their fourth place finish was just enough to punch their ticket to the state meet.

“We performed very well throughout the entire season, except one meet, and were looking at that meet as the one to measure them,” Hayley said.

Hayley added that the runners performed exceptionally well at state.

Above, senior runner Griffin Hutchins competes in a race held earlier in the season.  Hutchins was the boys top finisher at state with a time of 19:38 (Photo by Mary Kathyrn Hightower).