Cougars, Lady Vikings capture Cup titles
by Doug Gorman
It took 10 years, but Newnan High's boys cross-country team ended Northgate's decade-long run at the Coweta Cup Championships on Saturday morning.
The annual event was held at the Newnan Utilities reservoirs amidst cool temperatures and a slight drizzle, which to some runners, may have been closer to paradise than early August when the season began.
Paced by Matthew Miller first-place performance in 17:55, Newnan outdistanced second-place Northgate 30-43 in the boys competition to give the Cougars county bragging rights for the first time since the 2003 season.
The Lady Vikings managed to claim the girls' trophy thanks to a dominating performance by race winner Caitlin Bellora's in 20.35.
Northgate defeated Newnan 24-31 in the girls division.
East Coweta finished third in both varsity races.
Ending Northgate's hold on the county championship was one of the Newnan's top goals heading into the season according to Miller.
'It feels really great because we have put so much work in this season,' he said. 'We knew it was going to be tough. As a team we just came together. When we had to do it, we did it.'
Newnan head coach Kris Mossburg added that prying the annual trophy away from Northgate took a lot of hard work.
'(Northgate) Coach [Chris] Kimes always has awesome programs,' Mossburg said. 'That just makes the win for us, that much better. These guys, put in the work. That has been their goal all year because it has been so long.'
Northgate assured itself of the county title in the girls meet with Bellora and teammate Caroline Nelson (21:17) finishing 1-2.
Bellora grabbed the lead early in the 5-kilometer event and never looked back, finishing the hill-lined course before other runners came into view near the finish line.
'It always feels great to win,' said Bellora. 'This is really a challenging course, I always try to pull out front at the beginning.'
East Coweta runners Samuel Siprelle and Josh Bruce led the Indians with second and third-place efforts in 18:26 and 18:38 respectively with Miller able to build on a lead over the course of the 5K run. The Indians were forced to settle for third in team standings.
Newnan's five scorers all placed in the top-10, with Tyler Vermilya giving the Cougars a pair of top-five efforts while placing fourth overall in 18:53. Also scoring for the team were Jonathan Martin (7th, 19:08), Eli Moore (8th, 19:10) and Ben Ketelsen (10th, 19:19).
The Cougars had two additional finishers - Nick Dudek (17th, 20:03) and Ty Mossburg (20th, 21:06) - among the top 20 runners to cross in the boys race.
Northgate's boys also packed well in a second-place effort, landing three of the top-9 runners that crossed led by Justin Whipple's fifth-place finish in 18:58.
Spencer Ramthun (19:04) was right behind in sixth for the Vikings while Andrew Lail placed ninth (19:18).
imes was disappointed to see the Vikings county reign come to an end, but the veteran coach was still pleased with both teams' efforts.
'My varsity girls beat a very talented Newnan team, and I had the top two runners finish first in the JV races,' he said. 'I am disappointed for my guys team that we came up short. We are not bad, we just weren't as good as Newnan today.'
Vikings also claimed 11th-14th positions to complete the scoring from Harrison Griffiths (19:29), Evan Vatave (19:44), Josh Oller (19:45) and Andrew Tuttle (19:46).
The Indians' final three scorers behind Siprelle and Bruce were Zack Delgado (15th, 19:51), Matthew Shumake (16th, 19:56) and Ryan Cote (18th, 20:40). Both Kyle Hunt (19th, 20:57) and Nick Thurman (21st, 21:20) provided depth.
Among girls finishers, in addition to Bellora, and Nelson for the Lady Vikings, Erica Lee (22:14) was fifth, Taylor Lee (22:48) was seventh and Laura Rodes (23:20) was ninth among Northgate scorers.
Both Juliana Fugate was (13th, 23:43) and Elise Glorvigen (14th, 24:02) were right behind their teammates.
Elizabeth Westerfield's third-place effort led Newnan's girls (21:33), which still managed to place all five scorers in the top-10. They also included Anna Haydon (4th, 21:51), Hannah Hudson (6th, 22:48), Mary Douglas Hallman (8th, 23:00) and Megan Diebbol (10th, 23:20). Both Maya Sherman (11th, 23:29) and Ally Thomas (15th, 24:03) placed among the top-15 girls finishers.
Derian Pugh was the top runner for the Lady Indians, finishing 12th (23:36). The team's other runners included Rebecca Baker (16th, 24:35), Anna Weatherly (17th, 24:37), Hannah McClay (18th, 26:58) Sylenna Brown (19th, 28:05) and Monique Terrell (20th, 32:07).
East Coweta coach Susie Chestnut many of her runners are still trying to compete each meet against more experienced athletes.
'I was not surprised by my top two runners, he said. 'Where I am disappointed is there is such a gap between them. That is what we have been dealing with all year.' Up next is region competition, with Northgate travels to Starr's Mill for this year's 4-AAAAA meet, while Newnan and East Coweta return to the county course for the Region 3-AAAAAA event.
In the junior varsity races, Northgate had the top runners with Ameer Tabbaa (19:23) capturing the boys race.
Yasmine Gee (23:26) won the girls junior varsity race for the Lady Vikings.