Based solely on the regular season returns, Jackson County’s girls’ cross country team is proving to be the best in the region.
Of course, that matters little until the Oct. 30 Region 8-AA meet when the 8-AA champion will be crowned.
Jackson County’s girls’ cross country team out-paced region rivals East Jackson and Jefferson again Saturday at the Eagle Run as the Lady Panthers continue to work towards their region championship goals. The Panthers finished third overall, edging host East Jackson (fourth) and Jefferson (fifth). Seventeen girls teams competed in the event.
Jackson County’s Sydney Baird is pictured during cross country action earlier this year. Photo by Jessica Brown
“We could have had some better times, but I was happy with how we raced,” coach Joseph Brubaker said.
Jackson County finished with an average time of 22:47. Only West Hall and Buford were faster.
Going into the Eagle Run, Brubaker hoped his team would perhaps win the event, but said he “no complaints” with how his girls’ team ran.
“I expect to keep getting faster,” he said.
Brittany Aikens again led the Lady Panthers with a 20:49, good for fifth overall. Rachel Pasko placed ninth overall with a 21:39.
Brubaker noted that Pasko is healthy this year and running strong while training with Aikens this fall.
As for Aikens, Brubaker said Jackson County’s top runner is ahead of where she was last year in her training regimen as she looks to get her times below the 20-minute mark.
Rounding out Jackson County’s top five were Michayla Scollon (23:31, 24th), Maddie Newton (23:49, 30th) and Sydney Baird (24:06, 38th).
This wasn’t the first time the Lady Panthers have gone head-to-head with their in-county, region rivals. Jackson County’s girls beat East Jackson and Jefferson earlier in the year at the Northeast Georgia Championships.
Brubaker said he was happy with how his team ran Saturday, but noted that the attention is on the Oct. 30 Region 8-AA meet at Crow’s Lake, near Jefferson.
“It doesn’t mean anything until region, but it was good to race after a two and a half week layoff,” he said. I was happy with the results. We were coming off two tough weeks of training.”
And the tough training continues on. Jackson County has just over a month left before that all-important region meet.
“Yeah, we’ve still got another month of training,” Brubaker said. “We’ll scale back the last two weeks. But we’re still in the middle of our training, walking that fine line of keeping them healthy and getting them better.”
Jackson County returns to the cross country trail Thursday at Athens Christian for a small meet. Brubaker wants to see how much his runners have progressed since the Aug. 28 Northeast Georgia Championships.
“I wanted to go somewhere we’ve been before to measure how we’re doing,” Brubaker said.
Jackson County’s next large meet is Oct. 2 at Oglethorpe County.