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Tellez-Baltazar wins region, Tide cross country advance to state
Long County XC
Orlando Tellez-Baltazar crosses the finish line first at the region championship meet in Toombs County on Thursday, Oct. 28. - photo by Caleb Bailey

LUDOWICI, GA -- The Long County Blue Tide cross country teams have been some of the most consistent over the last few years. One runner’s hard work finally paid off as Orlando Tellez-Baltazar took home of the Region 1-AAA championship last week.

At the region meet on Thursday, Oct. 28, the boy’s and girl’s cross-country teams finished second and third overall, good enough for both to qualify for the state championships, while Tellez-Baltazar took home the region title.

This is the fourth consecutive year the team has sent a group to the state championships and the first time ever both the boys and girls have qualified.

“Just the kids’ willingness to work hard,” head coach David White said when asked what he can contribute to their success. “(Coaches of other sports) are willing to influence them into participating...They encourage them to come run to get in shape not only for cross country, but for their sports.”

 This is the second time in four years an individual runner has won a region championship, but it feels very special for Tellez-Baltazar, a senior in his third year running. He placed second the last two years and White said he has put in the hard work to get over that hump and bring a trophy to Ludowici.

“He was dedicated. He wanted it,” White said. “He gave up playing football so that he could come out there and focus on running. He worked hard and was able to get it done.”

Tellez-Baltazar finished with a time of 17:35 in the meet and the boys finished just four points out of winning the region title as a team. The girls finished nine points out of second place and with many runners coming back next year, the future looks bright.

The team will go to Carrollton, Georgia for the state championship meet on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6. 

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