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What can a team do without its grace and powers?

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What can a team do without its grace and powers?

The varsity boys pose for a group shot after their win.

The varsity boys pose for a group shot after their win.

The varsity boys pose for a group shot after their win.

The varsity boys pose for a group shot after their win.

The Southerner

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By Isabel Olson

The Grady cross country team competed at the APS City Championship at Grant Park on Wednesday Oct. 16. The boys placed with 31 points to the second-place North Atlanta’s 35 (low score wins). The Grady girls finished second with 29 points to first-place North Atlanta’s 26.

“I had hoped we might win both races, but without Gracie Griffith the girls contest became a bigger challenge,” cross-country coach Jeff Cramer said. “The other girls ran well, and the difference was only two points. It could have gone either way.”

The girls lost two of their varsity runners, but senior Margo Stockdale, sprinted into the finish winning the title of City Champion finishing the 5k (3.2 miles) course with a time of 22:25. The boys ran an alternate, Nicholas Pittman, due to varsity runner Graham Russell’s injury.

“We ran three races in one week; this was the third, so everyone was a bit tired,” Cramer said. “We have two weeks before region, and the team should be much more rested for that meet, which is far more important than the APS meet. It is fun to win trophies, but our goal is to get to state each year.”

The girls team has lost two of its most valuable runners at the end of the season. Junior and top runner, Gracie Griffith, has had to lay off the training due to stress fractures in both of her shins. Hoping to resume racing for region and state, Griffith has tried to maintain a high fitness level.

“Everyday I go to LA Fitness,” Griffith said. “I do about a half hour of deep water running and sprints, and I do about 20 minutes of long-distance swimming.”

The girls team lost its second-best runner, senior Grace Powers, as well.

“I had been struggling with both academics and sports,” Powers said. “I had to take a step back from cross country and learn how to regrasp everything.”

The boys team championship illustrates the potential the team has to compete well in future races, if all goes as planned. With the smaller team of top runners getting the full attention of the coach, they not only have an opportunity to train more intensely but also bond.

For the cross-country team to progress and improve its times at state, both the girls and the boys would need to shave minutes off their collective time. This will be no easy task after losing so many runners. Despite taking its toll,the team remains steady in preparing for the upcoming state and regional meets.

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What can a team do without its grace and powers?