Northgate sweeps Daley Invitational cross country meet

by Doug Gorman

Despite a slight drizzle during much of Saturday's third-annual Coach Daley Invitational cross country event, it didn't stop the varsity squads from holding a competitive meet at at Northgate High School on a solid day for host lineups.

Only four points separated the Vikings (43 points) and second-place Newnan (47) in the boys competition. The Lady Vikings also captured the girls competition, scoring 22 points to also hold off Newnan (36) for team honors in the event named for Northgate's former coach, who was on hand for this year's meet.

His successor, Chris Kimes, was thrilled to see both teams come away with a sweep.

'We are very happy,' he said. 'I told Coach (Charles) Daley he needs to come to town more often, because we swept both races, and we won the football game (Friday night against Ola), so it was a great Homecoming.'

Even while unable to wrestle away at least one of the two first-place trophies Newnan coach Kris Mossburg was equally pleased with the effort in both runner-up efforts.

'I think it went well,' she said. 'They ran solid races. This is a great training race. They came in very determined.'

Both of East Coweta's teams placed fourth with the boys scoring 87 points, and the girls 111.

Individual championships included Newnan's Matthew Miller among boys while posting a time of 17:59 among a pair of victories where neither winner was challenged.

Lady Viking Caitlin Bellora dominated in the girls race at 20 minutes even, more than a minute in front of the rest of the field to earn the gold medal..

Despite his winning time, Miller still hopes to get faster.

'I thought I was going to do a lot better,' he said. 'I ran a faster time on this course last year,' he said. 'I still thought I had a decent race, but I could have had a little better time. Now, I just want to break 17 (minutes).'

Bellora set the pace for the Lady Vikings, but packing together helped Northgate win the team title.

In addition to Bellora's time, teammate Caroline Nelson (21:15) was second, and Erica Lee (21:15) was third.

Bellora beat her personal best by 50 seconds.

'It was a good race for me overall,' she said. 'This is a flat course, so it takes a lot of pacing.'

Northgate won the boys overall title by placing four runners in the top 15.

East Coweta Samuel Siprelle was second overall (18:18) to pace the Indians and Darian Pugh (22:52) was the school's top girls runner with a ninthplace finish.

The Vikings' team win was led by Evan Vatave and Justin Whipple. The duo finished fifth and sixth, respectively, while two seconds apart led by Vatave's run of 18:28.

Northgate's boys had four runners among the top-10 thanks to efforts from Josh Oller (18:39) and Spencer Ramthun (18:53) to round out the group. Andrew Lail completed the Viking scoring, placing 13th in 19:15 Ameer Tabbaa was 24th and Jaelin Rainey 27th overall for the Vikings.

Newnan and East Coweta both had two runners in the top five. In addition to Miller, Tyler Vermilya (18:24) was third. Other Cougar scorers included Ty Mossburg (12th, 18:58) and Josh Martin (17th, 19:34) while Eli Moore's 22nd-place effort of 19:40 capped off the effort. Enrique Inostroza (19:42) also crossed 25th for the Cougars.

For the Indians, Josh Bruce's time of 18:24 was good for fourth place, two spots behind No. 1 runner Siprelle. Matthew Shumake was 20th (19:38) and Zachery Delgado 26th (19:43). Kyle Hunt (20:54), Caleb Christopher (20:54), and Chase Pack (21:02) also competed for East Coweta.

'I have a lot of younger runners,' East Coweta head coach Susie Chestnut said. 'One of my strongest runners is actually an eighth grader, Jacob Johnson, so he can only run on the junior varsity. We have several freshman and sophomores who are consistently getting better. This is kind of like a building year.'

Led by Bellora and Nelson, the Lady Vikings had five of the top-11 finishers. Taylor Lee (22:43) was sixth and teammates Laura Rodes (22:59) and Elise Glorvigen (23:06) placed 10th and 11th to complete the scoring. Julianna Fugate crossed in 16th at 24:08.

Bellora's winning effort helped Northgate outdistance Newnan's girls, who were packed even tighter among five scorers in the top dozen finishers. The team had seven runners cross in 14th place or better.

The Lady Cougars were led by Elizabeth Westerfield fourth-place time of 21:35. Anna Haydon (21:58) was fifth, Carolina Thomas (22:44) was seventh and Mary Douglas Hallman (22:44) was eighth. Maya Sherman (23:22), Megan Diebboll (23:22) and Lindley Hudson (23:33) crossed between 12th-14th place, respectively.

East Coweta's girls were led by Anna Weatherly's 18th place effort in 24:46. Rebecca Baker (25:12) was 23rd, Sylenna Brown (26:18) was 27th, Hannah McClay (28:38) was 37th and Monique Terrell (28:47) was 39th.

Kimes hopes the Daley Invitational continues to evolve into an even bigger meet.

'I wanted to do something to recognize the hard work of (former Northgate cross country coach) Coach Daley. 'This is not a revenue sport. These guys and gals put in a ton of work. It can be the same way for coaches. I just wanted to let people know, his hard work wasn't forgotten.'

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