Warriors’ cross country dashes through regionals


Jenny Loveland

A new batch of talented underclassmen will quickly fill the shoes left behind by the graduating class. These runners include freshmen runners William Hein and AJ Shinault, a few of the talented individuals that will fight to the top for NC. “I was aiming for 20, but I didn’t hit it. 19, 18, 17, 16, those are my goals in the coming years,” Hein said.

Elijah Pacis, Sports Editor

The Warrior cross country team participated in the 3-AAAAAAA regional meet to finalize the season with year-long bests and personal records all around. They worked hard throughout the 2021-22 season and claimed the fruits of their labor by running their hardest on Saturday, pushing to end the last race with a quick pace. With the seniors graduating, the race also served as a place to socialize and enjoy fellow racers’ company for what would become the last time.

“I’m kinda glad, I accomplished my goal of getting as fast as I was two years ago, but I’m kinda sad to not see all of my teammates, not for the last time, but at least for a while and on the team,” senior runner Will Xandabith said.

The GHSA (Georgia High School Association) hosted the race at Allatoona Creek Park, just 15 minutes away from the NC campus. Featuring a dry course and a chilly morning, the race looked poised to extract only the best out of the racers from across the region. The top three boys ended on a solid note, with senior Bentley Huff running an 18:00.15 5K, senior Grayson Ezzell finishing at 18:29.51, and junior Kevin Pumillo ending his race with 19:21.33. The top three girls also made a great showing, with junior Alexis Christian finishing at 20:36.78, freshman Sepidah Ghasemi finalizing her race at 21:49.46, and senior Gracie Peardon concluding the season with 22:52.94. 

“Finishing strong makes me really excited because I’m excited looking forward to track season and next year. I’m glad my body is getting a break. This season has been good,” Christian said.

Throughout the season, the cross country team raced in a variety of backdrops and settings. Notably, the team hosted the annual Warrior Way 5k at NC on September 9, where the members of the community including families, friends, and alumni came out to support the school’s long-distance racers. 

The seniors crafted new friendships and joyful memories during their time at cross country, as they left a resounding message to their underclassmen to “run over the summer.” Soon memories will turn bittersweet, courses trodden by different shoes. But unbreakable bonds will persist in the future, and the younger racers inspired by the work ethic of the seniors will find the motivation to not leave those shoes empty.

“I’m just glad [Alexis] has good friends and has fun, and we’ve gotten all of her running issues under control and she just goes out has a blast. The seniors leaving is going to be sad because she’s BFFs with Gracie and she loves Miriam, and also she likes Maya. I mean those are the girls she likes to run with. But I do hear we have faster freshmen coming up too so that’ll be more friends she can make,” parent Brenda Christian said.