Hilton Head High’s boys took first place in their heat, and both Bluffton’s girls and boys placed second to lead a strong Lowco showing at the SCHSL 4A Cross Country state qualifier on Saturday at Newberry College.
The Seahawk boys (86 points) shined with their depth, putting four runners inside the top 23 including a pair in the top 11 to win the Even heat. Senior Caden Thune (17:14.95) led the way in ninth place while sophomore JD Gilman (17:25.69) took 11th. Miles Brown (17:31.42) also scored a top-15 finish for the Seahawks, and Coen Smith (17:53.01) finished 23rd.
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Bluffton (101 points) placed second in the Odd heat on the strength of a fourth-place run from sophomore Earlon Baker (16:50.96). Cooper Anderson (17:28.96) and Boyd Collins (17:43.86) also each nabbed top-20 finishes for the Bobcats. Cohen MacDonald (17:21.58) led the way for May River in ninth place to earn an individual bid to the state meet.
Bluffton’s girls (62 points) paced the Lowco contingent in the Odd heat, finishing just three points shy of heat winner James Island. The Bobcats showed their outstanding young talent, sending three runners across in the top 12 led by freshman Elise Hunt (20:33.65) in eighth and stellar seventh-grader Giada Carge (20:57.04) in 11th alongside freshman Aubrey Sampson (21:01.77) in 12th.
May River senior Anya Arroyo (19:05.41) pulled off another sensational meet with a runner-up finish in the Even heat, and freshman Katelyn Dibert (20:56.58) took 15th to help the Sharks place fourth as a team. Hilton Head High senior Cynthia Gudaitis (20:37.58) crossed the line in 10th to lead the Seahawks to a fifth-place finish in the Even meet.
The SCHSL Class 4A state meet is scheduled for Friday in Columbia with the girls race at 11 a.m. and the boys race to follow at 11:30.
By Wes Kerr
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