Braves second, St. James fifth at Lower State XC meet

The Socastee boys finished second at the Class 3A Cross Country Lower State Championships and St. James’ boys and girls posted top-five finishes at Spring Valley High over the weekend.

The Socastee and St. James boys and girls qualified for next week’s Class 3A Cross Country Championships in Columbia, as did the Myrtle Beach boys with an surprising seventh-place showing.

The Braves used their depth to finish runner-up to Hilton Head (38 points), with senior Will Caswell (17:19), and sophomores Justin Knipper (17:26) and Austin Poisson (17:27) taking the final three top-10 spots. Freshmen Nick Koonce (18:23) and Will Vaught (18:29) finished 32nd and 37th respectively to give Socastee 94 team points.

St. James seniors Billy Krier (16:22) and Corey Morrison (17:12) finished third and seventh overall to lead the Sharks to a fifth-place showing (154), finishing just behind third -lace Darlington (125) and James Island (143). Junior Cory Falco (18:18) was 29th, Noah Krechel (19:42) was 78th and Tanner Hale (20:08) was 93rd.

The Lady Sharks also turned in a fifth-place finish with 198 points, led by Samantha Cunningham and Kelsey Glover finishing side by side for 20th and 21st (21:21). Natalie Feagin (23:20) was 44th and Felicity Weber and Karleigh Jones (23:44) crossed the line together in 56th and 57th place to round out St. James’ scoring runners.

The Socastee girls placed sixth (200), just two points behind the rival Lady Sharks. Eighth-grader Crystal Shimer (21:40) was the top finisher in 25th, followed by Jill Dudley (21:56) in 28th, Rebekka Booth (22:03) in 30th, Savannah Tolonese (23:45) in 58th and Lylee Dzieken (23:46) in 59th to rond out the Lady Braves’ scorers.

The Myrtle Beach boys made an impressive seventh-place showing, with Ethan Epstein (18:02) leading the way for the Seahawks. The Lady Seahawks finished 13th, led by freshman Madison Tilford’s (21:06) 16th-place showing.

North Myrtle Beach’s Drake Jenerette (20:48) finished 12th to lead the Lady Chiefs to a 15th-place showing. She qualified to compete in the state meet as an unattached runner.

While the Class 3A state meet went off with few weather issues from Hurricane Sandy, the Class 4A meet that was scheduled for Cane Bay High in the Lowcountry was postponed until 5 p.m. Monday due to windy and rainy conditions over the weekend. Carolina Forest’s boys and girls and Conway’s girls will compete in the event, and all teams will take part in the state meet in Columbia on Nov. 3.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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