The crowd settles around the starting point of the races during the NEGA Championships last week at Athens Christian. Photo by Nick Nunn

The crowd settles around the starting point of the races during the NEGA Championships last week at Athens Christian. Photo by Nick Nunn

By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

The Morgan County High School cross country team competed in the Ninth Annual Northeast Georgia (NEGA) Championships on Sat., August 24, at Athens Christian School.

Dalton Shaw led the boys’ team in the boys’ Championship 5k with a time of 18:42.23, taking 58th place in the race. Wyatt Howard was next fastest in the 88th position and a time of 19:32.18.

Yakira Chapman took 83rd in the girls’ Championship 5k, finishing the race with a time of 24:28.62. Jessie Pagett finished with 25:05.34 and the 98th spot in the 5k.

Cross Country Coach Brandon York gave his appraisal of the team before the meet, noting that the website ga.milesplit.com ranks region 8-AAA as the “most challenging to get out of to make the state meet, both for the ladies and the gents.”

“We are projected fourth in the region, which I think is about fair, though I think we are much closer to the top three than the GAMilesplit projections would lead you to believe,” said York.

“This is the year everyone has been waiting for on the boys side, I think,” continued York. “We have the two fastest Cross Country boys in school history: Wyatt Howard and Zach Stone. We added a pair of brothers, whose main sport is baseball but have run 5ks on the side, and clearly pass the “eyeball test” for just looking like brilliant cross country runners. Adding in Jeremy Craft, who has improved consistently through his time with us, and our wunderkind freshman Dalton Shaw, who probably has logged as many miles as anyone on our team, we look really good on paper.”

The girls’ team, however, is more uncertain at this point.

“The ladies are a mystery right now, as I have so many fresh faces,” said York. “Our seniors Caroline Jones, Elizabeth Mahoney, and Megan Hume, can help our freshmen emerge as leaders.”

The next meet for the MCHS cross country team will be at North Oconee High School on Sept. 5.