Arnold boys, girls advance

cross country

Rutherford's Jodi Phillips advanced to regional as an individual.

Andrew Wardlow photo
Published: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 09:59 PM.

BAYOU GEORGE — It was a case of 13 being as good as one for three Bay County cross country runners on Saturday.

Bay hosted the District 1-2A meet at Harders Park with competitors from eight schools vying for regional berths. The top four teams and top 13 runners overall in each race advanced to next week’s event in Tallahassee.

The perennial favorite, Arnold’s Mikayla Hodges, won the girls individual title in 19 minutes, 49 seconds. She was followed closely by Michaela Ashley in 20:19. Pensacola West Florida Tech’s Alec Clark won the boys’ title in 16:57.

Those accolades, while impressive, didn’t outshine the efforts of three area runners that crept into regional spots close to the wire with admittedly surprising results.

 Rutherford’s Jodi Phillips was the third and final Bay County girls runner to advance, finishing 11th in 22:25. Arnold’s Connor Hodges was 11th in the boys’ race and Rutherford senior Adam Cassel 12th. Cassel advanced in place of Andrew Wyllie, one of the county’s top runners who didn’t compete due to a foot injury.

Phillips’ teammate, Melissa Garred, moved on to the regional meet last season, but finished 15th on Saturday, 25 seconds back of 13th. Saturday featured slower times for many athletes, despite county teams being familiar with the course, thanks to hotter temperatures and little wind.

“It wasn’t my best time, but at least I made it regionals,” Phillips said. “I’m happy to make it, I didn’t the past few years.”

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