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X-country at state; Alvarez third finished third overall

 The Screven County Lady Gamecock cross country team of Cindy LeMaster completed another successful season as they won their sixth consecutive region championship on October 25 and took part in the GHSA Class AA state finals in Carrollton on Saturday.  As a team SCHS finished 15th but the real story of the season and Carrollton was senior Katelyn Alvarez who, after four straight individual region titles, came home with a third place state wide finish.
Claiming a time of 21:47.92 Alvarez continued what has to be the greatest individual career of an SCHS athlete ever with her best-ever finish at state. Just two years ago she was 70th overall with a time of 26:16.15 while a year ago she improved to 15th overall with a time of 23:36.16.  Now she has finished a third place finish and a time nearly two minutes ahead of last year and over four minutes better than her sophomore year. She is also thre- time defending region champion in the 3200 come spring.
“Katelyn had an outstanding performance to bring her senior year to a close, earning a spot on the podium at the awards ceremony,” said LeMaster. “She definitely pushed herself during the second lap of the three mile course by being in the top 15 during the first mile, then moving up to 5th position at the second mile and finally making her way and holding third position to the finish line.”
Ahead of Alvarez was a duo from state champion Bleckley County in Austin Perez at a time of 21:09.52 and Macy Moe with a time of 21:31.95.  Fourth place went to Berrien County’s Hannah Dodd’s 21:52.2.  Monticello’s Alina Jablonski was the only other runner under 22 minutes as she recorded a time of 21:58.76. There were 181total runners.
Overall the 15th place finish of the Red and White was better than the 18th of a year ago with a score of 423 as compared to 454 a year ago.  
Bleckley County claimed the title with a score of 32 with finishes of 1, 2, 10, 12, and 13.  Team scores end up a little different than the sum of overall places as some runners qualified as individuals while their teams did not qualify (the top six runners from each region qualify for state).  For team scores individual place scores are calculated based only on runners from full teams.
Also gaining points for SCHS were Mary Ann McCord at 56th (61 overall, 24:53.85), Abigal Stockwell at 120th (126 overall, 28:43.58), Kassidee Hutchison at 121 (127 overall, 28:50.80), and Destiny Simpson at 123 (129 overall, 29:23.63) .  The two other veteran runners from among the group also vastly improved their times as Stockwell’s previous time was 29.44.70 and Hutchison’s previous time was 30.08.73.
“I am very proud of how my girls finished out their cross country season at the GHSA State Cross Country meet,” continued LeMaster. “I am especially proud of Mary Anne McCord , Destiny Simpson  and Reagan Overcash for completing their first race at the Carrollton course.  It can be a very challenging course for the girls due to the hilly terrain and the overwhelming number of runners
Additional runners for SCHS were Sidnie Dotschay at 131st (138 overall, 29:56.31) and Reagan Overcash at 148th (155 overall, 31:47.01).  
Behind Bleckley were Banks County with 101, Rockmart with 122, Armuchee with 137, and Rabun County with 159.  At sixth place Jeff Davis (177) was the highest finishing school completely below the fall line. The other two 4AA schools (there was not a fourth place team at the region meet) were A.R. Johnson (24th with 607) and Butler (26th, 735).
“Hard work always pays off in the end,” concluded LeMaster.  “Earning the opportunity to go to State and represent our school really proves how hard these girls have worked this season.  I am sad to see this season come to an end, but I am always excited to what the future holds for our next season.”
Alvarez concluded a stellar SCHS cross country career Saturday.
“My freshman year, I had no idea what to expect,” she said. “This year though I broke more records than ever. Everyone told me that this was my last chance and I knew I had to do my best this year. I knew how to start the race and still have some energy at the end of the race. And the Boy Scout camp did help me a lot.
“I think that we have grown very close as a team and we all encourage each other. Coach Lemaster has helped me and the girls so much. She is such a good coach and I feel that she will help the girl win region again next year and many years to come.
“I want to encourage people who don’t think it’s possible. I want them to look at me and say ‘I can do that too.’”