Rain beat down on the course at Carrollton High School on Saturday, Nov. 7, as Pace Academy’s varsity boys and girls cross-country teams crossed the starting line in the 2020 GHSA Cross Country State Championships.
The boys, 2019 state runners-up, raced first. Junior Edward Blaha finished first overall in 16:28, the 12th-fastest time across all classifications; juniors Grant Thompson and Robert Mallis followed for the Knights, crossing the finish line in fourth and 10th place, respectively. The team’s strong showing earned state silver medals, making the Knights back-to-back state runners-up. All three of the squad’s top finishers were named to the Class AA All-State Team, and Blaha earned a spot on the 2020 Powerade All-Metro Cross-Country Team.
For the girls, freshman Caroline Hood led the way. She finished in sixth place overall with a time of 20:50. Senior Hanna Vincent was eighth, while junior Kate Jonas was 10th. When the scores were tallied, the Knights emerged victorious and claimed the state title, their first since 2013. Hood, Vincent and Jonas received All-State honors.
“Without question this season produced the most accomplished group of runners in Pace history,” says head coach Jolie Cunningham. “Both the boys and girls teams have rewritten the record board like no other teams in history.”