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Marking their fourth consecutive year of victory, the girls cross-country team won the 7A GHSA State Championship on Nov. 4, 2023. The girls ran the 5000- meter course at Carrollton High and produced a full podium of champions.

Mary Nesmith finished first place as the 7A girls State Champion with a time of 18:15.26. Three others placed in the top ten: Maddie Jones in third (18:27.53), Nora Hart in seventh (18:56.14), and Gabi Comsudes in tenth (19:16.94). Colette De- Pasquale placed 13th, Bella Russell 26th, and Brooklyn McVicker 51st.

The team scored 32 points with an aver- age time of 18:53. Walton High followed behind with 104 points.

“It’s always an amazing feeling to win state, but winning by that many points demonstrated the hard work and dedication we put in as a team,” Gabi Comsudes (12) said.

Nesmith, Jones, and Hart were also chosen to join the Atlanta All-Metro cross-country team.

“I am really happy to be on the team this year. I was on it last year, so I wanted to repeat that. It’s a big honor and going to the banquet is fun and meeting a bunch of runners from other schools that are also on the team is as well,” Jones (11) said.

For more than 20 years, Coach Jack Coleman has guided the girls and boys cross country teams.

“I am always looking for competitive people who are excellent students and don’t get bored easily. The girls winning the fourth championship in a row in domi- nating fashion was a joy to watch,” Coach Coleman said. “You will be hard pressed to find a group of young ladies more com- mitted to the team and each other.”

The boys team finished third overall in the state. The team finished with 164 points and an average time of 16:41. Their victory was led by Evan Grundmeyer with a time of 16:07.65. Parker Pitts finished 28th, Keenan Smith 31st, Evan Owens 46th, Lucas Fortenberry 50th, Grady Jenkins 77th, and Enoch Phillips 126th.

“I was very happy to see the boys maximize their abilities with the third place team finish and extend their trophy streak to five years at the state meet,” Coach Coleman said.

Across the state, in all regions, this cross-country team is considered to be among the best. A competitor’s mom at the state meet described the girls as the “Marietta machines.”

To reach their achievements, these athletes put in hours of training year round. Practices include distance running and workouts to improve speed and flexibility. They analyze the previous week’s race to see what could be done better. The athletes have to compete as individuals and as a team. Only seven athletes ran at state and there were alternates.

Senior cross-country runner Gabi Comsudes looks forward to practicing a lot and thinks their close-knit team chemistry has contributed to their fourth consecutive state championship victory.

“Practice is way better than people would initially think. We honestly just talk about everything under the sun for 5-12 miles. I think it is so cool to be a part of a group that isn’t rushing to get out of practice at five. Most days, we stick around for an extra 20 minutes just hang- ing out and talking to our coaches,” Comsudes (12) said.

The cross country’s team triumph was dedicated to a special teammate, Liv Teverino. Teverino’s life was taken to soon from Marietta in late September following a car accident after she left cross country practice. The community grieved the loss of their friend and teammate. When the teams raced in the state championship, her teammates honored Teverino by wearing shirts that had a pink love Liv graphic on the sleeve, pink ribbons with messages like running for Liv, and Grundmeyer had “Dig in 4 Liv” written on his hand in marker with a cross. Coaches and runners alike acknowledge the impact the loss of Liv had in uniting them even more closely. Their memories of Teverino increased the significance of this victory and the emotional connection they have to the win.

“One of my biggest motivations going into the state race, was to race for our teammate Liv. The year before, we both had the potential to race at state but sadly, we didn’t get to. We were alternates that year and we swore to each other we would both be on varsity and run at state the following year, which was this year” Russell (11) said. “I was running this race for her too because she never got to race it. This win was for all of us, but most importantly her because she would’ve been in that race, racing with us.”

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Sydney Hernandez
Sydney Hernandez, Section Editor
Sydney Hernandez is a student at the school Marietta High School. She has started her sophomore year as an honors, AP, and IB student, member of the school newspaper, Pitchfork, and is part of the Marietta High School Varsity Cheerleading Teams. Sydney is a very active member when it comes to wanting to help her community in any way possible. She soon hopes to become more involved in the school by becoming a member of the Marietta High Student Council. She enjoys spending time with the people she loves, painting, and traveling. Sydney has a bright future ahead of her and plans to have a career in journalism or becoming an interior designer.
Amelia Jenkins
Amelia Jenkins, Business Manager
Amelia Jenkins is a Honors, AP, and IB Student at Marietta High School. She is currently in her Sophomore Year at Marietta, and it is her second year on the school newspaper, Pitchfork. In addition to being involved in the Marietta High School community, she has joined the Audio, Video, Technology, and Film pathway and is hoping to continue with film and expand her knowledge in her last couple of years at Marietta. She is very involved in the Marietta Community and loves finding ways to help others through her youth group at First United Methodist Church of Marietta. After school, she dances at Georgia Dance Conservatory, located on the Marietta Square, and is also in the company at Georgia Metro Dance Theatre. She loves spreading joy and love through her dancing. When not dancing, you can often find her curled up with an exciting book, spending time with her friends and family, or practicing her writing skills and coming up with stories of her own. After High School, Amelia plans to continue with journalism and study communications/journalism in college
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