Clarke boys take 8th at 2A state cross country meet

Posted: November 18, 2013

Byrd Newspapers

THE PLAINS — The state cross-country course at Great Meadow was just as Clarke County High School senior Matt Dietz remembered it. Built for speed.

“My freshman year, it was my fastest time I ran all year by like 40 seconds,” Dietz said. “So I just remembered coming up the hill the last time and fighting through that, because once you get to the top of that hill, it’s all downhill through that [final] stretch.

“It’s the same course, but it means a little more when you’re a senior.”

Fighting through a difficult conference and region, Dietz helped the Eagles place eighth at the 2A boys’ state meet Saturday with one of the team’s two top-21 finishes.

Sophomore Ian Dors led Clarke by placing 19th overall in 17 minutes and 12 seconds. Dietz (21st) finished just four seconds behind him.

In the 2A girls’ race, freshman Sophia Biddle-Snead paced the tenth-place Eagles in 21:26 to finish 36th overall.

“Certainly, Clarke County has a rich tradition here, and it’s been quite a few years since we’ve not only gotten one back but we’ve actually gotten two teams back,” first-year Clarke coach Jamie Symons said. “So this was quite an accomplishment.”

With five top-10 finishers on its boys’ and girls’ teams, Maggie Walker swept the 2A titles over George Mason. The boys dominated the field with 21 points. The girls scored 23 points on the strength of a 1-2-3 finish, led by senior Daisy Banta (18:49).

John Battle junior Brad Swiney won the boys’ race in 15:36.

Both Clarke teams placed fifth at the 2A East regional meet to qualify for states.

The sophomore-heavy Clarke boys improved their average time from regionals by nearly 30 seconds, knocking off three seconds on their top-5 splits. On the girls’ side, the Eagles improved their average time by 12 seconds.

“For some of them, they’ve never really experienced this before,” Symons said.