Hilton Head High’s girls came up one point short of a Class 4A cross country title on Thursday in Columbia, losing by the narrowest of margins to new Region 7-4A rival James Island at the SCHSL Cross Country Championships at Sandhill Research Center.
May River’s Anya Arroyo (18:36) was the girls runner-up, and Beaufort High’s boys finished third in the team standings, just ahead of fourth-place May River.
The Seahawk girls were six seconds faster than James Island on average and claimed three of the top seven spots in the individual standings, with Cynthia Gudaitis (18:46) leading the way in third place, but individual champion Hannah Vroon (18:25) and the Trojans made up the difference in the No. 5 spot to narrowly edge Hilton Head.
Hilton Head’s Sarah Neville (19:36) was fifth, followed closely by teammate Laney Duncan (19:46) in seventh, and Reagan Gilman (20:20) in 16th, but James Island’s top five runners all finished in the top 28, and that was enough to push them over the top.
Bluffton’s girls were sixth with Kaitlyn McDonagh (20:58) leading the way in 24th, while May River finished eighth despite strong performances by Arroyo and 13th-place finisher Victoria Sosa (20:06).
Beaufort’s boys had their sights set on a state title in star Marlon Belden’s senior season, but after working his way back from an injury that kept him off the course for most of the season, the defending Class 4A runner-up finished 11th in 16:52. Junior teammate Nash Mills (17:13) was also less than 100 percent after sitting out last week’s state qualifier, finishing in 23rd, one spot behind teammate Joseph Patterson (17:13).
May River finished fourth, with Jaxon Beebe (16:57) and Mills Campbell (17:00) in 15th and 16th, while ninth-place finisher Max Struna (16:51) led Hilton Head High to a sixth-place finish and Bluffton finished 12th.