By Zach Shugan
Several cross country teams in the area kicked off the 2021 season last weekend with time trials, but for most, Saturday marked the first day of competition. The first race day.
The boys and girls cross country teams from Alpharetta and Milton traveled to Winder early Saturday morning to compete in the Apalachee Season Opener, and both schools left the 12-team meet with hardware.
Milton won both the boys and girls 5K races, and the Alpharetta girls finished second in their race.
Cory Chambers crossed the finish line first with a time of 16:55.16, and Dylan Bowden came across about 15 seconds later at 17:09.82 to take third place. Zach Patell (6th place, 17:47.85), Pearson Gillam (9th place, 18:19.27) and Oliver Stone (11th place, 18:27.59) rounded out Milton’s top five runners.
“Chambers took control with about 800 meters to go and got the overall victory,” Milton head coach Andy Carr said.
It was a photo finish in the girls race, and the top two runners were both from Milton. Farrah Frith (19:49.08) set a personal record to take home first place, edging out her teammate Ella Grace Malcolm (19:49.44) by less than half a second.
The Eagles had a whopping five other runners finish in the top 10. Calista Cacciatore (6th, 21:30.24), Leelah Dennis (7th, 21:53.19), Jessica Albregts (8th, 21:55.69), Megan Stechschulte (9th, 21:58.56) and Ivy Rindt (10th, 21:58.69) all posted top-ten times.
“Great to see the varsity girls team run so well with all seven girls finishing in the top-10 overall,” Carr said.
Alpharetta finished fourth in the boys team standings. Spencer Etheridge posted the Raiders’ top time of 17:32.58, good for fifth place individually, and Alex Wiklund (18:21.77) took 10th place.
The Raiders placed second in the girls team standings with five runners finishing between 11th and 28th place. The team’s top time came from Bailey Roner, who finished just outside the top 10 with a time of 22:20.01. Caroline Steiger (18th, 22:46.18), Katelyn Rager (19th, 22:50.52) and Abby McDonald (20th, 22:53.96) all finished within seven seconds of each other.
Both schools will be back in action next Saturday, Aug. 28, with Milton heading to Canton to compete in the Cherokee County Classic and Alpharetta going to Whitesburg for the Bob Blastow Invite.
Full results from the season opener can be viewed here.