New Year, New XC! The Eagles Prepare for First Meet at Pickens


Used with permission from Melissa Mendez

South time trial. On Saturday, August 13, South Cross-country members gather at Windermere Park to host the annual 2 mile time trial. At the end of the run, South coaches announced who each runner’s Big and Little’s were. Junior Isabel Yonas and sophomore Wyatt Longstreth smiled for a photo as they are each other’s Big and Little.

Carmel Yonas, Opinions Editor & Senior Reporter

Scorching Summer

As school comes to a start, South’s Cross-country team returns from their busy summer full of 10-mile runs and tough workouts. The Eagles endured 7 a.m. practices (three days a week) from June to July, all while under the burning heat. Now the team is expecting their hard work to pay off as they prepare themselves for their first meet this Saturday, Aug. 20.

Furthermore, South’s meet schedule is looking very solid for the team. Almost all of the meets are on flat courses, meaning there are more chances of achieving PRs (personal records). However, this season also includes the 9th Milton XC Invitational, which is by far one of the hilliest courses in Georgia and presents a battle for all runners.

And despite Georgia being one of the most competitive states, senior veterans Carmel Yonas, Caroline Turner, Ben Bergey and Harris Garmon are ready to lead the Eagles through a potentially grueling season. Running alongside South’s seniors are juniors Isabel Yonas, Molly Hanlon and sophomores Ben Winn and Wyatt Longstreth.

This season, South recruited a handful of freshmen who show insane amounts of potential and may just surprise the team with astonishing times. In fact, freshman Camden Coker placed eighth in South’s time trial at Windermere Park and has the chance to begin his first year as no. 7 on varsity. Will he work his way up to top five status by the end of the season?

Run it Back to Reigning Champs

The Cross-country season is finally here; runners jump for joy as they go back to 5 a.m. bus rides, blazing hot runs, and long lines at the bathrooms. But the real excitement comes from competition and racing against teams all across Georgia.

On the boys’ side, commenters expected Bergey to come out on top and defend his title at Pickens from last year; however, Bergey won’t be racing this weekend, though he would’ve been competing against senior Alex Arrambide from East Forsyth. Arrambide ended his season as runner up at the State Cross-country Championships last year for 3-A and will definitely be a challenge for the top runners.

Not far behind Arrambide are Winn and Longstreth from South. These two have always been neck and neck since the last Track and Field season and never leave one another’s side. Prior to this season, Winn was one step ahead of Longstreth, but after their intense summer training, both are showing possibilities of breaking the 16-minute barrier easily.

The rest of the varsity boys are juniors and sophomores: Adam Zorko, Josh Wilson, Grant Longstreth, Rishi Nagappan, Thomas Lichtenwalner and Grant Gibson. They each hope to run PRs (personal records) at Pickens and keep their positions on varsity for meets to come.

“I feel fairly excited but fairly worried as well. I honestly want to shake one person’s hand and have no regrets by the end of the race,” Zorko said.

Run “Like a Girl”

South Forsyth’s girls also look strong and have a chance at competing for a top three team finish at state. Carmel and Isabel Yonas, the sister duo, hope to lead the varsity girls to a team win in their first meet. Paige Harden, a freshman at South, isn’t a newbie to Cross-country and ran exceptionally well at South’s time trials. She is no. 3 on varsity, followed by Hanlon and senior Janisha Patil.  

Last year at Pickens, Carmel Yonas beat her former competitor Ashley Thompson, who has since graduated from Gainesville High School. But this year, the senior Yonas will be racing against two state champions from the prior season: juniors Caroline Hood from Pace Academy and Samantha McGarity from Harrison High School. Also in the mix is the younger Isabel Yonas, who will be competing against her sister for third place. Will the younger or the older sister come out victorious? At the end, it’ll come down to the most resilient runner in the lineup.