Xiang Keeps Streak Alive, Scores One for Florida

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Bartram Bail n Trail Classic Race Summary

On a day dominated by out-of-state invaders, Karen Xiang scored a redemptive one point.  Her 18:17 win in the Girls Varsity race was the only one of Saturday evening not owned by Peachtree Ridge. That Georgia team returned home with three individual and four team titles. Wow!

In order to keep it from being a complete skunk, Xiang had to do some fighting to keep her season-long undefeated streak alive.

Senior Addy Lippitt of Peachtree put some pressure on Xiang early, giving her some unexpected pressure. But it didn't last long. About a half of a mile into the race Xiang broke free and never looked back. She cruised in for the 18:17 win, but said the course seemed slower than in years past.

"There was a nice muddy section," Xiang said, "...most people usually PR on this course, but only one person on my team did this year."

For their part the Nease girls took third place with 138 points and a 20:42 team average. Local rival Bolles took second place (behind Peachtree) with 67 points and an impressive 20:01 average. Sophomore Mackenzie Wilson was the top finisher for the Bulldogs in 19:02.

Breaking into the 18s was freshman rising star Kaley Delay of Fletcher at 18:59. Teammate Danielle Van Liere at 19:10 (5th) gave Fletcher a stellar 1-2 punch and lowered their team average greatly. They finished sixth with Dr. Phillips and Mandarin sneaking into 4th and 5th, respectively, on better depth.

A good-and-muddied Wesley Norton, senior at Stanton Prep, was the first Floridian to cross the line on Saturday. He jumped between two Peachtree Ridge, GA runners (Kevin Mills and Isaac Penman) to take second place in 16:13. Bolles' Austin Decker pushed the chase pack for much of the race, finishing fourth in 16:23.

Behind Peachtree's 38-point domination, St. Augustine continued its impressive season by beating favored Mandarin 95-107. This was a trade in positions from last week's flrunners.com Invitational where Mandarin had defeated St. Augustine by a similarly narrow gap 267-278 (7th and 8th place). 

St. Aug did it with great depth behind Noah Kemp's 16:48. Less than a minute 1-5 split to fifth man Robert McKinney's 17:41. Corey Slaven also dipped under 17 in 16:53.  For their part, Mandarin's top three looked really solid with Sam Mack (16:29), John Weaver (16:39), and Michael Cassette (17:03) all in the top 15.

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