By Derrick Mahone
In past seasons, the Eagle's Landing cross country team has been relatively health, but this hasn't been the case this season.
Coach Claude Spinks says his team is battling injuries, but has seem to persevere each week.
Last weekend, the Golden Eagles fought off the injury bug to finish runner-up at its meet. Senior Zach Sims had his second-fastest time of the season to take top honors at the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagle Invitational at Nash Farms Battlefield in McDonough.
Sims had a time of 16 minutes, 00.03 seconds for a first place finish.
Teammate Keanan Joyner was the second-highest Southern Crescent finisher at seventh with a time of 16:53.
"I'm very pleased at the overall meet," Spinks said. "I'm pretty happy about finishing second because we have a lot of injuries."
Preston Valencia of Luella had a time of 17:27.3 to finish 13th overall.
In the team standings, Booker T. Washington of Pensacola, Fla., won the event with 26 points. Eagle's Landing scored 107 points with Luella finishing sixth. Rounding out the top 20 with local teams were Ola (12th), Woodland (16) and Locust Grove (20th).
On the girls' side, Luella swept the top two individual spots. Sophomore Kayla Millholland was the top finisher at 20:56 with freshman teammate Emily Roemer running a 21:09 to take second.
Shantia Wilson of Eagle's Landing finished 19th with a time of 22:18.
Luella was the highest area girls' team with a sixth place finish while Eagle's Landing was eighth.
The Henry County Championships will be Saturday morning at Dutchtown.
Spinks said that Eagle's Landing and Union Grove will likely battle for the top spot while Luella and Union Grove appears to be the favorite on the girls' side.
"The effort has been there from my team," Spinks said. "The kids are really fighting through the injuries. They have pushed through the pain."