Braves Senior Cross Country runner Orlando Burgos finished in third place at the individual GHSA-AA Cross Country finals Saturday finishing with a time of 17:48.66. Burgos actually led the race at the halfway point before a cramp forced him to fall back.
Burgos, who also won the Region 5-AA Championship on October 31, struggled through the pain to still attain the stellar finish in the race which featured over 200 competitors. Burgos now plans to race at the Foot Locker South Regional Cross Country Championships in North Carolina.
The Heard County High School cross-country team attended a total of thirteen meets this season. Among the largest of these were the Asics Invitational at Macintosh Reserve, and the Last Chance Carrollton Invitational, hosted at Carrollton High School.
Varsity runners Deron Swint, Keith Moss, and Shawn Foster have all improved their times from last year. Rookies, including Ethan Caldwell, Bryan Hill, Carl Lipford and Jarrett Pike are showing promise for upcoming seasons based on their performances in recent meets.
The team started their second month of the season by competing in Columbus at Shaw High School on October 2. Varsity runner Orlando Burgos received second place, with a time of 17:17, followed by Swint in sixth place, with a time of 19:19. Moss, Foster, and Caldwell also scored, at seventeenth, twenty-fourth, and thirty-seventh place.
On October 13, the Braves attended the Asics Invitational at the Macintosh Reserve in Whitesburg. This race hosted over fifty schools, and more than 800 runners. Orlando Burgos participated in the Championship, placing seventeenth out of 150 runners, with a personal record 16:06.
Moss, Foster, Swint, Lipford, and Luke Carroll later ran in the A-AAAA division race. Several of these athletes broke previous personal records. The team attributes this success in part to their practice and to the terrain of the course, which was nearly flat with very few hills.
On Tuesday, October 16, the Braves hosted a meet at home. In contrast with the flat terrain of Macintosh Reserve, the Heard County High School course is considered one of the most challenging in the region. It boasts several hills, rough terrain, and near constant curves.
Burgos finished in first place, with Swint coming in second. Moss, Foster and Bryan Hill finished within the top twenty.
The Last Chance Invitational, hosted on October 27 at Carrollton High School, brought the Braves’ regular season to a close. This meet hosted over thirty schools and divided races by school size. The team competed in the A-AA race where Burgos once again took first place, with a time of 17:06.
Deron Swint placed thirty-seventh, at 19:38, with Keith Moss and Bryan Hill also scoring. Hill’s finish marks the first time of the year that a rookie has finished with a higher place than a veteran runner. Hill stated, “It was a rough start for me since I have never ran distance before, but overall I think I have improved a lot.”
The team returned to Macintosh Reserve for the Region 5-AA cross country meet, where they competed against Bowdon, Jordan, Spencer, and Chattahoochee County. Burgos finished the race in first place with a time of 16:37, and Swint finished in eighth with a time of 18:26.
Final results placed Heard County High School in third place, Jordan High School in second, and Spencer High School in first.~ Shawn Foster