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Southland girls post highest finish at state cross country meet in history

MACON -- The Southland Academy Lady Raiders earned their best finish in school history by taking fourth at the GISA Class AAA state cross country meet last Saturday at Wesleyan College.

Eighth-grader Chris Shattles continues to make a name for herself, running to the school's first-ever All-State selection. She was fourth overall with a time of 21:02.

Augusta Prep's Amanda Murphy won the meet, followed by Deerfield's Mackenzie Davis and Westfield's Valerie McClure. The Lady Raiders ended up being the top team from their region, edging fifth-place Deerfield -- which won the Region title -- by 10 points at state. Augusta Prep won and was followed by Holy Spirit Prep and Mount de Sales.

Senior Tanzy Hogsed was 22nd with a time of 22:55, and sophomore Mary Catharine Calcutt was 29th with a time of 23:43. The remaining Lady Raiders finishers were Alina Yemelyanov (44th, 24:53); Laura Ann Slocumb (58th, 25:44); Quinn Hanson (60th, 25:54); and Rachel Doggett (70th, 27:20).

"I really saw the girls as a top five team all season, but Chris emerging as a varsity runner and Alina Yemelyanov rejoining the team just before the Sherwood meet really put us over the top," coach Patrick Calcutt said. "We lose only one senior and should be the favorite to win region next year."

Freshman Geoffrey McDonald led the boys to their second consecutive 10th-place finish by finishing 30th. Mount de Sales won and was followed by Augusta Prep and Tiftarea.

The rest of the boys were Wright Calhoun (35th, 19:56); Matt Calcutt (56th, 20:59); Ellis Ivey (64th, 21:27); Alex Arnold (72nd, 21:58); Landon Calcutt (81st, 22:19); and Colton Blankenship (96th, 23:47).

Calcutt said "the (boys) team has steadily improved each of the past two seasons," as four of the team's top five runners are freshmen or eighth-graders.