Heritage School’s Ruthie Powell adds 4th title
LOGANVILLE — Ruthie Powell’s dominance in the GISA State Cross-Country Championships continued Saturday, with The Heritage School junior continuing a perfect run of individual titles in this year’s Class AAA meet hosted by Loganville Christian Academy.
A 13-second victory in 19:43 over Augusta Prep’s Jamie Holodak earned Powell her second consecutive championship in AAA to go with the pair of AA individual titles won during her eighth-grade and freshman seasons.
“She was pushed for a good bit of the race,” said longtime Heritage School cross-country coach Frank Marchman, whose impressive resume added another individual state champion, a third-place finish by a Hawks lineup missing its No. 3 runner and an eighth-place effort by a Lady Hawks team that began the year with just two starters.
The run gave Powell one of her only chances to be challenged in a meet all season, having dominated the Region 1-AAA meet while winning by 25 seconds a week earlier while getting an early look at the state course.
On Saturday, The Heritage School junior bettered her previous region-winning effort by a whopping 39 seconds. Holodak had finished as the Region 4-AAA champion and helped Augusta Prep’s girls finish as Class AAA runner-up among team scores after having to settle for the individual runner-up as well.
“Ruthie needed a race like that,” Marchman added. “Most of the year she just outran everyone easily.”
Along with Powell, Lady Hawks teammate Ashley Wood earned All-State honors with her ninth-place finish in 20:52. She finished third at last week’s 1-AAA championship.
Heritage’s girls, which opened the season with two runners, managed to pick up enough help along the way to finish the year eighth overall among team scores while being the only team with just the minimum five runners at the state meet.
Catherine Hallman paced the effort for the Lady Hawks by placing 32nd in 23:13. Soccer standout Sara Brillanti was 64th in 26:05, and Mary McGreggor helped Heritage stay ahead of Deerfield-Windsor and Westfield among the top-10 teams by placing 80th in 28:32.
Heritage’s boys may have been a little disappointed after being unable to challenge for a potential Class AAA title while being one of the favorites coming off their Region 1-AAA title. But a third-place effort at the state meet also came without the services of No. 3 runner John Dean Uglum due to injury.
“All our boys tried hard and picked it up and ran quicker on the course than they did at region last week,” Marchman said. “They felt good about those efforts.”
The final effort of the season ended with a pair of Hawks — Tanner Branner and Parker Jones — earning All-State honors while finishing among the top-10 individuals.
Brandner placed sixth in 17:34, nearly a minute ahead of his pace at the region meet a week earlier on the same course. Jones placed eighth in 18:06.
Teammate Tom Pattiz just missed finishing in the top-10, placing 11th overall in 18:12, while David Martin crossed 18th overall in 18:36. Gage Warren completed the Heritage scoring in 32nd position in 19:31.
Both Matt Harmon (40th) and Hayden Jones (63rd) also competed for the Hawks, which finished with 74 points behind only Southland (58) and Augusta Prep (65).