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Sports Summary: Eagles Cross-Country Team Travels Across Virginia for Regional Meet

The Eagle Cross Country team stops for a photo at their regional meet. (Courtesy Photo)

By Ethan Ellis & Morgan Lietz--Eagle Staff Writers

Cross Country has "paced" their way through a COVID season.

Franklin County had a lot riding on this year's regional meet. Head Coach Chris Williams made several big promises riding on both individuals' times, and the team’s overall placements.

Williams promised if either of the teams, male or female made it to states, he would take them to Busch Gardens and let them stop at the beach before they went home.

That was a pretty significant promise to hold up to. The runners had quite the incentive to do well in this tournament

It was held Saturday, April 17th and VHSL held their 6A regional tournament for cross country. It was held at Bell Mills Park in Virginia Beach. There were a total of 138 runners, 71 boys and 67 girls.

"We were all more nervous from last year, considering this was our first big race as a team in nearly a year," Caroline Horne, junior, stated.

The varsity male team consisted of seven runners: sophomore Nathan Atchue, sophomore Parker Chapman, sophomore Kyle Roach, sophomore Andrew Riddle, sophomore Sebastian Ellis, senior Ethan Ellis, and junior Josh Mills.

"I was feeling pretty good that day and was excited for the race," explained Atchue.

Per usual, Atchue came in first. He ran a 16:45 5K, beating Harrison Ladd from Ocean Lakes by 12 seconds. This automatically qualified him as an individual at states.

"I was pretty happy about it. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew I was one of the few that could win it," stated Atchue.

Chapman came in 15th with Roach right behind him. Chapman ran 17:46, while Roach ran 17:52.

Sophomore Riddle ran 18:38 coming in at number 38.

"I was satisfied and happy it was over," says Riddle.

For the first time in FCHS history, two brothers tied coming in at the exact same time. Sophomore Sebastian Ellis and his brother, senior Ethan Ellis both ran 20:06.10. While they may have received the same score, one had to come out on top.

While Ethan claims he finished before Sebastian, Mile Stat tells a different story. According to Mile Stat, Sebastian came in at 52nd, while Ethan came in at 53rd.

Last but not least came Mills, coming in at 54 with a 5k time of 20:13.

The team placed fourth out of ten teams.

Atchue ran 16:27 and placed 5th overall at states.

"I was pretty happy about finishing 5th at states. I was going for the win and fell short this year, but hopefully next year I can win it,"explained Atchue.

The FCHS girls' cross country team traveled to Chesapeake last Saturday to compete in the Class 6 Region A meet. Led by coaches Chris Williams and Kevin Bowman, the girls were able to come out with a fourth-place finish out of 10 teams as they scored 105 points. Ahead of the Eagles were Ocean Lakes, James River, and Kellam in first through third place.

Junior Addison Shorter led the Lady Eagles as she finished second overall in the race with a time of 19:37. Behind her was senior Harper Dillon in 23rd place with a time of 23:24. Freshman Whitney Holland finished 26th with a time of 23:32.

Freshman Julianne Bowman came home 32nd for the Eagles with a time of 23:42. Right behind her was Horne, who finished 34th with a time of 23:48.

"Racing there reminded me of life pre-pandemic and I think everyone there was more thankful for the chance to race than ever before," Horne said.

Sophomore Natalie Davis finished 41st with a time of 24:25 and senior Morgan Lietz came home in 46th position with a time of 25:31.

"Emotionally before the race, I was nervous but excited," stated Davis.

While the girls’ team as a whole did not place in the top two, the required finishing position of the team to compete in states, Shorter went to represent the Lady Eagles in the state meet on April 22 as an individual. She placed 4th overall at states.

"I am super proud of myself for placing 4th and beating the girl that beat me at regionals. My goal was to just run my absolute best and give it my all," explained Shorter.

Even though this cross country season was unlike what the Eagles are used to, seniors still found a way to make the most of their final races.

"I had a great time at Cross Country Regionals and although I am sad that I won't be competing with my teammates next year, I will still cherish the memories that I made with them throughout my years in high school," senior Harper Dillon summarized.

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