The Commerce High School boys’ cross country team is making history.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the Tigers will travel to Macon to become the first ever CHS cross country team to compete at the state finals.
In a strong performance at the Area 4 meet at Athens Academy, the Tigers took second place, propelling them in to the state finals.
“I’m very proud of them,” said head coach Mark Hale. “As far as I know, this is the first time that we have had a team from Commerce High School go to the state meet, so that’s a pretty big deal.”
The times of each team’s top five runners were added and the lowest overall times advanced to state. Out of the five teams that competed, only Georgia Military Academy (1:41:53.00) outperformed Commerce (1:50:30.00) at the Area meet.
Hale touted his teams’ improvement over the regular season.
“We’ve really gotten better throughout the year,” he said. “They all work very hard.”
Jose Rodriguez, who finished fifth individually at the area meet, has consistently been the strongest runner all season.
“Jose has some talent,” said Hale. “He really enjoys running. It’s not a chore for him at practice. He enjoys it and he always has a good attitude about it. That has really shown up in his development.”
Rodriguez ran a 20:10 at the area meet and currently boasts a 20:00 as his personal best time for the year.
“This is the first year he has ever ran, and he is a sophomore, so I’m looking for big things out of him in the future,” added Hale.
Four teams from each of the four areas will travel to Macon. The Tigers will be waking up bright and early to leave at 5:30 a.m. to make it in time for the 9 a.m. scheduled meet.
Although the season will soon come to a close, Hale says he is excited to see how his team develops during the offseason.
“I’m excited to see how Jose improves if he keeps practicing in the off-season, and I can say that about everybody,” said Hale. “I’ve really enjoyed this team. They are fun to be around and I’m happy to see them have some success in a sport that we really haven’t had any success in before."
Times from the Area 4 meet are: Jose Rodriguez, 20:10; DiKerrio Ramsey, 22:07; Parker Moon, 22:29; Johnny McAbee, 22:35; Jake Schramm, 23:12; Justin Langston, 24:38; and Nick Henderson, 25:33