LaGrange is running strong

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

October 22, 2013

The LaGrange High boys’ cross country team is ranked second in Class AAAA, and it showed why on Saturday during the Nike/Fleet Coach Wood Invitational in Gainesville.

Competing in the varsity division, the Grangers snared four of the top 10 spots, including the top two.

Andrew Coggins raced to a first-place finish with a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds, and he finished a few seconds ahead of his teammate, Sam Bowie (16:39).

Jonathan Pelham (17:11) earned a ninth-place finish, and Garrett Cashwell (17:12) was 10th.

Will Wooten (19:08) rounded out the top five for LaGrange.

The Grangers’ other runners were Dakota Crowson (19:23), Gabe White (19:34), Garrett Godby (19:38) and Hiram Haro-Oropeza (20:29).

In the girls’ varsity race, Sarah Bearden (19:55) led the way for LaGrange with a sixth-place finish.

Colleen Riggs (24:34) was next for LaGrange, followed by Violeta Haro-Oropeza (24:53), Audrey Tomlinson (25:51), Emma Kate Shelton (26:04) and Brooke Yarbrough (27:13).

The meet served as a tuneup for the Region 5-AAAA meet that will be held on Oct. 30 in Douglas County.

LaGrange’s boys’ team, which is ranked second to Marist in Class AAAA, will be one of the favorites to win the state title because of its depth.

Coggins and Bowie have finished near the top of the leader board in every race they’ve been in this season, and Pelham and Cashwell have also had strong seasons.

Coggins, who won a state championship in track and field in the spring, set the school record with a time of 15:23 during the Alexander-Asics Invitational on Oct. 12.

Bowie had a time of 15:31 in that meet.

At last year’s state meet, Bowie was seventh, and Coggins was eighth.

On the girls’ side, Bearden is having another superb season after finishing sixth at state last season.

Bearden posted a time of 18:40 at the Alexander-Asics Invitational, breaking her own school record.

Coggins and Bearden were both named the Georgia MileSplit Class AAAA runner of the week after their performances at the Alexander meet.