Brittany Aikens outran the field at the Patriot Races Saturday to lead Jackson County to a team victory in the nine-team event hosted by Oglethorpe County.
Rachel Pasko followed Aikens’ first-place with a third-place showing.
“I’m very pleased with how our girls ran,” coach Joseph Brubaker said. “I think they all did well. I couldn’t be happier.”
Aikens finished with a season-best 20:05, beating East Jackson’s Sherri Blaylock by just over three seconds. Pasko finished with a 20:40.
The remainder of Jackson County’s scoring lineup broke the 23-minute mark and all finished in the top 20. That group included Sydney Baird (12th, 22:01), Michayla Scollon (14th, 22:10) and Maddie Newton (19th, 22:54).
With 42 points, Jackson County topped second-place East Jackson by a 37-point margin. Jefferson was third with 94 points.
Jackson County ran a combined 1:47:51. The team’s average time was 21:34.
In addition to beating East Jackson and Jefferson, Jackson County also bested two other region foes — North Oconee (fourth, 99 points) and Oglethorpe County (fourth, 274 points).
Brubaker said the course appeared to be a fast one.
“I didn’t think it would be at first, but it was a fast course. Everyone ran fast across the board … I think the weather helped out a lot.”
While Jackson County is running well right now, Brubaker wants to make sure the best times are still to come.
“Hopefully we’ll run that way at region,” Brubaker said. “I want to get to Oct. 28 (the date of the region meet) and hopefully we can run our best race of the year.”
Freshman leads JCCHS boys’ runners again
Jackson County’s boys finished 11 out of 12 teams at Saturday’s Patriot Races in Lexington, paced by freshman J.T. Wood yet again.
Wood ran a season-best 18:54 to finish 18th overall. He was the only Panther runner to break the top 50.
“I knew he had a lot of natural ability,” coach Joseph Brubaker said of his freshman runner.
Rounding out the scoring for the Panthers were Dusty Haralson (60th, 20:26), Brian Nunez (66th, 20:55), Tyler Manculich (69th, 21:03) and Danny Butler (75th, 21:16).
Fellow region team North Oconee won the boys’ varsity race with 54 points. Region schools East Jackson (fourth, 128 points), Elbert County (sixth, 145 points), Jefferson (seventh, 164 points) and host Oglethorpe County (eighth, 173 points) finished ahead of the Panthers.
Brubaker noted that the Panthers were missing two of their top five runners. But those who ran, ran well, the coach said.
“It was good to see everybody improve,” he said. “I’m hoping for more improvement out of our guys.”
Specifically, Brubaker said Haralson ran a good race, while Nunez broke 21:00 in his best race of the year.
Meanwhile, Manculich continues to work hard and should improve his times, Brubaker said, while Butler continues to get better, too.