CANTON — Creekview won the boys title and Etowah successfully defended its girls crown Saturday in the Cherokee County cross country championships at Boling Park.
Individually, Woodstock’s Dillon Watson won the boys race and Creekview’s Makena Gates won the girls.
Etowah nearly made it a clean sweep of the team championships as it tied Creekview in the boys standings with 61 points. However, the Grizzlies’ sixth-place individual finisher edged out the Eagles’ sixth-place runner to clinch the title on a tiebreaker.
It was the third county title for the Creekview boys, who also won in 2009 and 2017.
“We lost every meet to (Etowah) this year,” Creekview coach Kirk Scharich said. “We knew we were getting close and we just had our guys stepping up (Saturday). Our depth paid off.”
Sequoyah (83) finished third, followed by Cherokee (98), Woodstock (105) and River Ridge (110).
The girls standings were not as quite as close as the boys, as defending champion Etowah dominated the field with 34 points to repeat. The Lady Eagles placed four runners in the top 10 to finish far ahead of runner-up Sequoyah (80).
Creekview (88) was third, followed by Woodstock (90), River Ridge (108) and Cherokee (111).
The boys individual race was a close battle, with the top four placers finishing within 5 seconds of one another.
It was Watson who emerged in front of a wild sprint to the finish line, recording a time of 16 minutes, 21.8 seconds to edge out Creekview’s Bryson Gates (16:22.5) by less than a second.
Etowah’s Dru Moore (16:23.6) was fewer than 2 seconds behind Watson to place third, while defending champion Dom De Lillo of Cherokee (16:26) was fourth.
“I saw everybody behind me, so I sped up,” Watson said. “It felt great. It was the first race in a while where I felt awesome. It was a fun race.”
Woodstock’s Joseph Mines (16:40) was fifth, followed by Sequoyah’s Josh Helms (16:44), Creekview’s Chris Adams (16:47), River Ridge’s Rylan Haskett (16:58) and Ryan Sewczwicz (17:00) and Etowah’s Matthew Hall (17:01) to round out the top 10.
In the girls race, Gates shook off a strong challenge from defending champion Makenna Calbert of Etowah, as well as a nearly half-hour delay due to technical issues, to win her second county championship.
Gates and Calbert established themselves far ahead of the rest of the field early on, with the Etowah junior taking the lead around the 1-mile mark.
However, the Creekview senior, who won her first county crown as a freshman in 2017, quickly retook the lead and widened the gap — crossing the finish line at 18:22 and finishing 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Calbert (18:52)
“Overall, I did really well,” said Gates, who was recently accepted into Harvard and plans to compete in track and cross country there. “I’m really happy with it. I enjoy this weather, too. The only thing is that we waited about 30 minutes, but it didn’t really affect me.”
Rounding out the girls top 10 were River Ridge’s Clara Miles (21:47), Cherokee’s Lexi Pavese (22:11), Etowah’s Abbie Kallbreier (22:22) and Meg Lance (22:23), Sequoyah’s Susanna Rogers (22:46), River Ridge’s Cayden Crimson (23:03), Sequoyah’s Ella-Grace Cothren (23:19) and Etowah’s Natalie Calbert (23:25).