RINCON — Area high school cross country teams competed in the Hills on Wheels Invite in Richmond Hill on Saturday.
For South Effingham and Effingham County, it was the last major dress rehearsal. The Mustangs ran strongly, finishing in second place on the boys side and fifth among the girls.
“It was a good day,” South Effingham head coach Laura Soles said.
Cailan Howard continued his impressive sophomore campaign, leading his team with a time of 17:07. He finished in third place while teammates Jacob Mitchell (17:43) and Joey Burdick (17:44) came in ninth and 10th, respectively.
Cheyenne Ryan anchored the team yet again. She posted a time of 21:40 to secure 12th place. Diyah Patel (22:20) followed in 17th place.
For Effingham County, Kody Everett landed a sixth-place finish with a time of 17:33.
Although it was 31 seconds slower than his personal record at the Saucony Classic in August, Everett is confident that he will have his best race during the Region 2-AAAAAA meet Oct. 24.
“It wasn’t my best race,” Everett said. “I could have run faster. You always have those days.”
Pacing himself appropriately was Everett’s strategy, knowing that he will see the course again for the region championship.
“At the beginning of the race, I try to calculate what pace I need to stay at,” he said. “I try to stay at a 5:35-5:40 mile. I have my watch set to where, if I am going slower than that, it will vibrate and I will speed up. I know the courses well enough to know when to start sprinting or when to pick it up.”
Seth Moye came in second among the Rebels with a time of 18:42. That was good for a 25th-place finish overall.
Megan Hilton secured a top-10 finish. Her time of 20:45 was good enough for fourth place.
It was a strong display of grit and endurance for both Effingham County teams.
“I am so proud of them,” Effingham County head coach Pam Richards said. “It’s been a good season. They’ve pushed through the heat. We know this course and I think we will run better at (the region meet).
“I know we will.”