First Presbyterian Christian Academy’s boys’ junior-varsity cross-country team and girls JV runner Hannah Burkett won state Georgia Independent School Association titles Oct. 10 during the season-ending meet at Stratford Academy in Macon.
In addition to the team trophy, the Highlanders boys’ team brought home four individual medals. George Mitchell finished third overall, Daviyon Dotson placed fifth, Isaiah Dickey was sixth and Simon Steele Jr. finished eighth.
Highlander Jacob Cardinale just missed medaling by finishing 12th.
“The boys’ team performed as a unit all season long,” FPCA coach Simon Steele said. “These young men had high expectations for themselves after they won the first race of the season. They realized what they were capable of and never wavered. As they got to the starting line, I looked in each one of my runners’ eyes, and I knew they were going to do something special that day.”
Steele added that the second-place team was more than 50 points away from the Highlanders, who finished 6-1 this season.
The team consists of Travelle Blakeslee, Torez Byrd, Jacob Cardinale, Isiah Dickey, Daviyon Dotson, Zander Hill, Jarrett Malcolm, Justin Malcolm, Kyle Osteen, Alexander Pagan, Simon Steele, Julian Sutphin, Andrew Swindell, Palmer Witney, Jordan Gilliard and George Mitchell.
Steele said that the girls, especially Burkett, did well too. They placed ninth in the state overall at the meet. For Burkett, who was the first Highlander to win a race for the third-year program, it was another honor to her resume and a good ending to a strong year.
“I really enjoyed working with Hannah Burkett this year,” Steele said. “Hannah has much more potential and will only get better. She is only in the seventh grade, so she has another year to compete on this level.”
Steele said Burkett listens and trusts his advice as a coach and won some races in exciting fashion.
“She keeps us on our toes,” Steele said. “I’m proud of every athlete that competed. They all improved their times and represented the First Presbyterian Christian Academy proudly.”