With top-four finishes for each of Creekview’s boys and girls squads, and a second-place finish by the Sequoyah boys, the two schools will be present at the Nov. 10 state championships in Carrollton.
Pope won the boys title with 38 points, followed by Sequoyah (68), Creekview (97) and Northview (98).
The Creekview girls scored 88 points to finish behind Northview (53), Pope (78) and Riverwood (88). The tie for third place was awarded to the Lady Raiders based on a lower average time for their runners.
Sequoyah junior Christopher Costa led the county’s runners, finishing third overall in the boys race in 16 minutes, 17.67 seconds — 40 seconds behind the pace of the winner, Pope’s Patrick Fleming. Creekview’s Hunter Carter was fifth with a time of 16:31.
In the girls race, Creekview senior Rachel Garabedian finished third in 19:41.56, a little more than 19 seconds behind champion Ashley Kehoe of Pope.
Creekview coach Ty Brown relished the opportunity to advance both of his teams to Carrollton.
“It feels great,” he said. “We’re happy, we’re excited, and we’re glad to have two more weeks of training to get ready.”
Sequoyah’s James Adams felt likewise.
“We’re excited,” he said. “All of the hard work that they put in this summer has finally paid off.”
He also had extra praise for Costa.
“Chris has done awesome all year,” Adams said. “He did well and ran to his potential.”
After finishing fourth in the county championships at Boling Park two weeks ago with a time of 16:50, Costa managed to shave 33 seconds off his time and set a personal record.
“It’s surreal,” Costa said. “It’s amazing. That was the fastest I’ve ever run. I never really thought, when I started running, I would ever be at this point.”
Sequoyah was also boosted by Ryan McNeal (ninth, 16:46.60), Zach Moore (14th, 17:04.96), Dylan Carson (19th, 17:28.62) and Blake Weis (23rd, 17:32.19)
The Lady Chiefs, who finished eighth, were led by Viviana Lopez’s 16th-place time of 21:20.92.
Costa wasn’t the only runner to set a personal best Saturday, as Creekview’s Rachel Garabedian ran a 19:41 — 32 seconds faster than the 20:13 she ran on the same course two weeks ago.
“Rachel is just gutsy,” Brown said. “Her goal all season long was to break 20 minutes, and she did it here. She peaked at the right time — right when we wanted her to.”
An exhausted Garabedian celebrated her feat after the race.
“My body is really tired, but my mind is super excited,” she said. “I feel that I pushed really hard. I’m extremely happy.”
Garabedian was backed by Creekview teammate’s Rachel Boulineau (ninth, 20:41.05), Lauren Johnson (13th, 21:08.25), Marisa Rink (27th, 21:34.85) and Lera McNamara (38th, 22:08.50).
Behind Carter for the Creekview boys were Brennan Garriques (11th, 16:51.40), Austin Ryan (20th, 17:30:48), Elijah Cloy (22nd, 17:31.41) and Zach Dulong (39th, 18:14.22).
Creekview’s performance was made even more impressive by the fact that both McNamara and Grant Slater, two of the Grizzlies’ top runners, fell sick before the race. While McNamara soldiered on to compete in the girls race, Slater did not run Saturday.
“If we would have been a little healthier, things might have been a little better,” Brown said. “Still, I’m pretty happy with our performance. Hopefully, everyone can get healthy, because I think we have a shot at cracking the top 10 at state.”
Adams is also targeting a top-10 finish for Sequoyah.
“State will be tough, but we’re going in there to try for the top 10,” he said. “It’s our goal.”