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TFS runners post season-best times at Unicoi
Over 3,200 legs from more than 42 middle and high schools trampled the grass, gravel paths, and hill at Unicoi State Park in Helen at the Runners Fit Mountain Invite. The meet features a festive atmosphere of blaring music, early sunny to later cooler, shaded temperatures and hundreds of fans shouting “let’s go, pick it up, finish strong, good job,” and countless other phrases meant to inspire a wanted change in pace to pass one more runner.
Every TFS harrier zoomed to a season-best and nearly all veterans set course personal records, according to TFS Athletic Director Scott Neal.
"Senior Captain Perry Gresham continued a quiet, invisible pursuit to leave not only a school cross country legacy (she broke her own school record – set on this course two years ago – by running 20:59.1 and placing 23rd of 181), but a leadership legacy as well," Neal said. "Her recent relentless pursuit of fun-filled management of running pain, in addition to being a team role model, has captured the attention of area college coaches."
The Indian varsity boys, led by sophomore Chris Geiger of Sautee-Nacoochee, junior Aaron Hughes of Demorest, junior Zac Smith of Longboat Key, Florida and Clarkesville and freshman Grey Bourlet of Tallulah Falls and freshman Chathan Clouatre of Toccoa, placed 24th of 33 scoring squads from every classification with an 18:38 time average and 1:16 difference between runners No. 1-5. "The goal is to get the later differential to less than a minute," Neal said.
The JV boys also finished 24th (of 28 scoring teams). Due to injuries, TFS girls did not have enough varsity racers to score as a team because of splitting JV and varsity runners.
Notable performances were seen in final home stretch kicks from sophomore Maria Whitson of Alto, Clouatre, and the two Sophies - Burke and Alexander, who both set personal records. Sophomore Matthew Justice of Tiger, senior Ben Griswold of Demorest and freshman Hagan Eubank of Tallulah Falls all ran exceptionally well, he said.