Bainbridge High School and Grace Christian Academy cross country runners show out at Westover Invitational

Published 8:29 pm Monday, October 9, 2023

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The city of Bainbridge took over the Westover Invitational on Saturday. Grace Christian Academy runner Walker Elrod and Bainbridge High School runner Jahlae Sapp took the top two spots at the meet.

Elrod finished first and set a course record of 15:51.79. Sapp finished second, his best finish of the season. He’s been knocking on the door, finishing in third, fourth, or fifth in all but one race this season.

“We’ve been joking with him all season long because he kept placing fourth,” said Bearcats head coach Eric Conner. 

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Sapp was actually in fourth place coming into the final stretch of the race, according to Bearcats coach Alison Wells. 

“When I saw him, I was sitting at about the 100-125 meters to go mark,” Wells said. “It wasn’t a huge gap between him and the other guys, but it was one of those gaps where, if you’re gassed, it’s going to be hard to catch up. But I saw his face, he was tunnel visioned onto those guys. It was a good finish for him.”

The dominant performance for the city didn’t stop there. Grace Christian Academy freshman Tatiana Smith finished 9th and ran a personal best of 21:42.19. BHS senior Caden Godwin finished 14th, and PR’d by 19 seconds with a 17:43.98 time.

“He’s still bragging about it,” Conner said Monday. 

Godwin ran a time in the 18:40s at the Tifton Invitational just a week before Saturday’s personal best-setting race. 

“We were trying to get him, step by step, to the 18:30 mark,” Wells said. “He blew that out of the water… what Caden did was super special.” 

The Bearcats had eight more runners PR at the meet, and three other Cougar runners ran their personal best times.

“I was super excited for all the kids,” Wells said. “They’ve got some big goals in mind and this weekend was a big jump ahead to reaching those goals.”

Both teams gear up for the Bearcat Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 14, hosted by Bainbridge High School. BHS will unveil a new course for the meet that Conner said he’s looking forward to showing off.

“It’s exciting,” Conner said. “I do like this course more.”