The Swain boys’ cross country team made it two victories in a row last week in placing the race’s top four runners and seven of the top nine.
Austin SanSouci was again the top finisher with a time of 18:43.27. The freshman troika of Connor Brown, Kane Jones, and Connor Lambert filed in directly behind him at 19:07.22, 19:10.61, and 19:19.98, respectively.
“They gritted it out,” Coach Keith Payne said of his top four runners. “They pounded it out and they hung with two kids from Hiawasee Dam on their home course but then they absolutely wallered them the last mile. They wore them out.”
The Devils made the mistake of letting Hiwassee Dam set the pace and then lost steam toward the end of the course and couldn’t keep up, Coach said.
Hiawasee Dam placed the fifth and sixth runners.
Swain captain Dhruv Senghani was seventh with a time of 20:45.68.
Rider Mattox and Jaxon McClung came in after Senghani at 21:24.40 and 21:20.77, respectively.
“It was a good, strong showing considering it was all on grass, and we haven’t trained a lick on grass,” said Payne. “It’s just not something that we’ve trained on, so that varied course hurt them a little bit. Even when we run in the park on the trails, the trails are hard. It’s almost like asphalt, and that grass had a lot of give to it, so they really had to exert more energy on a course like that.”
Swain will host Hiawassee Dam and Hayesville on Wednesday with temperatures expected to be the coldest of the year for a meet thus far.
“We’ve got more competition,” Payne said of this week’s meet. “Hayesville, and then again we’ve got Hiawassee Dam, too. So, we’ve got two strong team with good runners up front who should push my top four or five kids to PRs, even if it’s a little bit cold.”