By John Smithson
North Myrtle Beach’s Jacob Koontz was the top finisher in the boys varsity race in the Horry County Cross Country Championships held last Wednesday at the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex. Koontz’s time of 16:01.56 beat second place finisher Kaden Buchler(16:13.69), whose team finished in five of the top seven positions to win the boys varsity event.
Carolina Forest was first with an average time of 17:13.52, followed by St James (17:32.52), Myrtle Beach (18:32.88), Socastee, Aynor and Green Sea Floyds.
Besides Koontz, three other Chiefs boys ran in the race. David Webber was 35th in (21:15.41), Matthew Bauer was 42nd in (22:30.30) and Jackson Stephens 43rd in (23:48.75). The North Myrtle Beach team did not field enough runners in either the boys or girls varsity events in order to qualify for a team score or finish.
In the girls varsity event Socastee took first place with a combined runner time average of 22:50.52. Myrtle Beach was second (23:05.51), and Carolina Forest was third (23:23.16). The North Myrtle Beach girls had only three girls running with an average time of 24:01.19 but could not qualify for a place in the final results. Noa Ortiz finished sixth overall in individual results (22:20.10). Chandler Mury Riley was 22nd (24:26.84) and Ronan Donahue was 25th (25:16.64).
One bright spot for the Chiefs was a first-place finish by the JV girls team. The Lady Chiefs had five finishers in the top ten runners to win the event. Finishing second was Hailey Doscher (25:07.44). Peyton Long was fourth (26:03.32), Mandy Davis fifth (26:16.68), Jackie Horton seventh (26:34.39) and Peyton Dorsey was thirteenth (28:07.29).
First place finisher Jacob Koontz stated he was pleased with the race result but “that last kilometer hurt. It was easy up to then. We didn’t have four of our team members running, so we weren’t counted as a team for results. It’s been a short season, so we have to get everybody back to get ready for the region championships. I think we will be ready as a team by then,” Koontz said.
Chiefs Coach Alex Booth stated he was disappointed that the team was short of runners. “We had a bunch not able to run in both the girls and boys varsity races, but were able to field a team for the girls JV. I think all our runners will be back for the regions. I’m looking forward to a number of our runners qualifying for the championships. Our number one girl couldn’t run today, but I think they will all be back for the region races,” Booth said.