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Experienced Eagles eyeing run to podium
by Chase Wallace
cwallace@neighbornewspapers.com
September 12, 2012 12:05 AM | 1661 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Erin Gray. 
From left, Milton Cross Country team members Nate Reich, Annie Kelly and Brad Bannister.
Staff / Erin Gray. From left, Milton Cross Country team members Nate Reich, Annie Kelly and Brad Bannister.
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Whether it’s high school or college, amateur or professional, men’s or women’s, championship teams always have a few quantifiable traits like depth, experience, and star power.

For Milton cross country coach Andy Carr — and the 150 runners and 58 seniors that make up his 2012 roster — those are the three components he hopes will bring Milton one of the best seasons in school history.

“We’ve never really had this type of talent and success on both sides,” said Carr, referring to his boys and girls teams that are both ranked in the top five in AAAAAA.

“Our kids know we have a chance to have a big year and that this opportunity doesn’t come around often, so we’ve set the goal of getting both teams on the podium [at the state meet].”

The Milton boys haven’t reached the podium (top-4 finish) since 2000 when they finished third; the Lady Eagles found their way there last fall (finishing fourth) for the first time in a number of years.

But with nearly every top runner back this season, Carr said both teams have a good chance to make some noise in Carrolton in November.

At the top Milton is led by the two fastest runners in school history, Annie Kelly and Nate Reich — both seniors that finished in the top 10 overall last season and set school records earlier this fall.

Behind Kelly is seniors Jacqueline Mahoney, Blair Gelb and Maddie Butzer — who all posted top 50 finishes in AAAAA’s state championship meet a year ago. Junior Abby Jordan, a move in from Pennsylvania, and sophomore Amy Ruiz have also impressed Carr early in the 2012 season, giving the Lady Eagles a host of girls with the potential to run a sub 20-minute 5K.

Depth and speed is a theme on the boys’ team as well. Behind Reich, who became the first Milton runner since 2000 to run a sub-16 minute 5K in August, are senior captains Miles Dayoub, Alex Marshall and upcoming freshman Brad Bannister — a quartet that all ran top-10 times in school history at Milton’s season opening meet in Douglasville.

“This is a special, special group as a whole and the senior class is really special in itself,” said Carr. “They put in a lot of work over the summer and we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re making it a point to make a big push toward that podium.”
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