Cross Country races through state meet


(From left) Throughout the season, Christian Gonzalez, Sam Amick, and Eoin McNally ran times close to each other, often trading places one, two and three.

The Decatur boys’ and girls’ cross country teams finished third and eighth on Friday, Nov. 2 at the 5A State Championships in Douglasville.

Sophomore Eoin McNally raced to seventh place in the boys race with a time of 17:10. Freshman Christian Gonzalez followed close on McNally’s heels as he finished eighth in a time of 17:11. Senior Sam Amick finished in 12th place and sophomore Ethan Yankovich took 23rd. With 160 points, the Bulldogs finished behind only Starr’s Mill and McIntosh. Decatur has not placed better than third at a cross country state championship in 13 years.

Yankovich has had his eyes on the podium for years, having watched his older sister walk across it with the St. Pius girls team.

“I always saw her getting up on the podium, and I said, ‘wow it would be really cool to do that with Decatur,’” Yankovich said. “When we’ve completed four or five months of hard work, it really felt special all in that moment.”

The boys team shows no signs of slowing down. Both McNally and Gonzalez were the fastest runners in their respective grades in the 5A race, and should be joined next season by Billy Carlton, who finished third in the Middle School State Championships in October.

Yankovich points to the fact that Starr’s Mill and McIntosh graduated most of their top runners, so he is focused on winning the 5A state championship next year. By the time he graduates in 2021, he hopes that they have a chance to go to the Nike Cross Nationals in Oregon.

In the girls race, junior Haley Rose finished twelfth with a time of 20:27. Ivy Leach, Alexis Siegler, Maggie Carlton and Adeline Carlton also contributed points toward the eighth place team finish.

The Douglasville course is notorious for its open layout and steep hills, but senior Maggie Carlton wasn’t thinking about the difficulty of the course itself as she raced on Friday.

“I sprinted to the finish, excited to be done with the race,” Carlton said, “but not really understanding the significance of that movement.”

The boys’ varsity cross country team brought the third place trophy back to Decatur. 

For Carlton, Friday’s race ended seven years of running in the Bulldog uniform, both at Renfroe and Decatur. She was a key member of the 2013 Renfroe girls team that won the Middle School State Championship and hopes that both the middle and high school programs continue to perform well.

The boys team will run at the Nike regionals in Cary, NC on Saturday, Nov. 24. Ivy Leach will also run as an individual in the girls’ race.


All photos courtesy of Mary Souther. 

Contact the writer, Christopher Rosselot, at [email protected]