The Pisgah varsity girls cross country team just missed a first-place finish in its annual invitational meet on Saturday.

But as competitive as the Eagles are, head coach Gus Hembree didn’t mind this time finishing behind the team that took the Pisgah Invitational’s Small School (Class 1A-4A) Varsity Girls 5K Race title.

Ider (41 points) edged Pisgah by eight points for the top spot. Ider was running in memory of their principal, Pisgah High School alum Cyrus Frost, who died unexpectedly on Sept. 1. Ider runners ran with Frost’s initials written on their arms. 

“ Even though the Ider girls beat us, I was happy, emotional and excited for them,” Hembree said. “I know each one of them was running with a heavy heart at the passing of their principal. I know he was a huge supporter of cross country at Ider. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him.”

Ider seventh-grader Makinley Traylor was the top overall finisher with a time of 21:24.16. She finished nearly two minutes in front of runner-up Kendall Harbison (23:13.39) of Vinemont and nearly two-and-half minutes in front of third-place Jennifer Vega (23:51.94) of Section.

Rounding out Ider’s top-five scoring runners were Kenzie Smith in 11th place (25:29.73), Alexis Brewer 12th (25:56.33), Aubree Chapman 14th (26:03.41) and Brynley Traylor 15th (26:26.19) while Maleah Smith finished 28th (29:29.53) and Emma Hayes was 32nd (30:10.68)

“The kids dedicated that to him Mr. Frost and wanted to run for him. All seven of them ran their best race yet,” said Ider head coach Dustin Bryant. “(Frost) came to every meet we had wherever it was. It’s hard to put into words what he meant to us.”

Rhylee Bell led the Pisgah effort with a sixth-place finish (24:25.30) while Serenity Olinger was 10th (25:23.40), Kayana Stewart 13th (26:02.96), Nevaeh Evans 17th (27:19.36), Jazimine Wilson 18th (27:26.72), Emma Sisk 19th (27:27.75), Laily Brown 25th (28:54.54), Kimberly Miller 36th (31:58.64) and Addison Goff 38th (32:17.03).

Three other Jackson County teams had runners in the race.

Along with Vega’s third-place finish, Section got a 34th-place finish from Madison Armstrong (30:41.57) and a 41st-place finish from Morgan Armstrong (33:01.71). Katie Roach finished 26th (29:00.36) for Skyline while Delana Pierce was 33rd (30:34.79) and Saiyni Ramirez 40th (32:57.24) for North Jackson. 

Small School (Class 1A-4A) Varsity Boys Race — Pisgah finished fourth with a team score of 81. Westminster Christian took the top spot with a winning low score of 40, followed by runner-up Madison Academy (64) and third-place DAR (77). Vinemont was fifth (110) and Ider sixth (149).

Mason Overdear was Pisgah’s top-finisher, placing 10th with a time of 20:11.75. Brodie Overdear finished 13th (20:53.54) for the Eagles while Bob Johnson was 14th (20:55.28), Austin Wilson 22nd (21:42.85), Jake Smith 26th (22:08.32), Bryant Overdear 27th (22:16.48), Tristan Hutson 41st (23:17.02), Emanuel Elizondo 44th (23:55.02), Holden Goff 52nd (24:24.82), Bailey Johnson 57th (25:20.25), Koen Smith 59th (26:52.37), Austin Mabry 65th (29:35.85) and Alex Elizondo 66th (30:56.43).

“I was impressed with my newbies and how they stepped up on Saturday,” Hembree said. “My junior high boys and girls are going to play a big role on our varsity teams this season. I thought they came out and competed against a tough field of runners. Brodie Overdear really helped pick up the slack with Tristan Little not being able to compete.” 

Four other Jackson County teams had runners in the race.

Alex Roper finished 33rd (22:43.67) while Edgar Sanchez was 58th (25:23.38) and Jay Yates 60th (26:52.48) for North Jackson. Derek Bearden finished 34th (23:01.00) and Jonah Slay was 56th (25:17.78) for North Sand Mountain while Trever Saint was 40th (23:15.46), Scott York 61st (28:02.81) and Colby Hambrick 63rd (29:07.29) for Skyline.

For Ider, Everett King finished 28th (22:20.49) while Brody Chapman was 35th (23:02.20), Lucas Murphey 36th (23:02.34), Tyler Brewer 45th (23:56.65) and Dillon Cook 51st (24:14.84). 

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