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East Union hosted some of the area’s top cross country teams on Saturday, with the Urchins and Lady Urchins taking top honors in their home meet.
Katie Rowan paced the Lady Urchins’ in their win, finishing first with a time of 18:34.89. Rowan is one of the top five runners returning for head coach Nathan McLellen and the 2009 2A runners-up.
East Union easily captured the title on the girls side, as the Lady Urchins swept the top four in the race.
Savannah Shirley was the top finisher for West Union, and Mallory Newby also finished in the top 10. Samantha Shettles was the top finisher for Myrtle.
Drama filled the boys end of the meet, as Myrtle’s Bryan Cook led throughout but fell to East Union’s Jose Valle in the final 20 yards of the race.
Valle finished the race at 18:32.78, while Cook finished second with a time of 18.33.08. Justin Pickens and Heriah Dodson of Myrtle each finished in the top 10, but the remaining six came from East Union, with the defending 2A state champs taking the title in their home race.
The course for this meet was described as one of the toughest, as it’s filled with hills and a run through a cotton field behind the school.
“It’s hills and cotton fields,” McLellen said. “We call it Cotton Field Trails, and it’s one of the hardest courses we run besides Jackson.”
Overall, McLellen was pleased with the overall event, as he hopes to host more meets on the East Union campus.
“It’s kind of a small thing with this being our first time to host here at East Union in over five years,” he said. “We have some really competitive teams and some quality top schools here and we hope to keep this up in the future.”