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Morrow heads back to state cross country meet

Morrow runner Cameron Pack finished 12th in the Region 2-AAAAAA cross country meet over the weekend in Decatur. (Special Photo)

Morrow runner Cameron Pack finished 12th in the Region 2-AAAAAA cross country meet over the weekend in Decatur. (Special Photo)

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Morrow runners shows off their hardware from the Region 2-AAAAAA cross country championship where the Mustangs finished third with runners (standing) Cameron Pack, Austin Gray and Courtland White. Kneeling with the trophy is Lance Pappillion. (Special Photo)

MORROW — It’s back to state for the Morrow boys’ cross country team.

The Mustangs finished third at Region 2-AAAAAA over the weekend at Druid Hills Middle School in Decatur.

“I’m pretty pleased at what they were able to do,” Morrow coach Anthony McKissic said. “I actually thought we had a shot at finishing as runner-up. I’m happy to be able to go back to state.”

Last year, the Mustangs finished fourth in the region.

Junior Austin Gray had a time of 17:35 to finish fourth overall at the meet. The Mustangs next top finisher was Cameron Pack (18:10, 12th) and Courtland White (19:01, 15th) to finish in the top 20.

McKissic praised Gray for his efforts.

“He has gotten better with each meet,” McKissic said. “I’m real happy because he has done a great job. The results he has put up speaks for itself. The good thing about it is that he is just a junior. I’m sure he will get even better with more training.”

Morrow got 74 points while Rockdale won the meet with 31 points and host Druid Hills had 46 points to finish second. The Mustangs had an average time of 18 minutes, 49 seconds for the race.

Lovejoy placed sixth overall at the meet with Joshua Robinson (20:11) leading the way with a 27th place finish.

On the girls’ side, Lovejoy freshman Nichole Slocumb was third with a time of 22:13 in her first region championship meet. Last month, she won the county title. The Lovejoy girls didn’t have enough runners to score any points toward the region title.

Jojo Heckman of Luella won the region title with Paulette Juieng placing second overall.

Slocumb will advance to the state meet this weekend in Carrollton as well as the Morrow boys team. The Class AAAAAA boys meet will start at noon with the girls meet to follow at 12:40 p.m.

Morrow finished 30th out of 32 teams at the state meet, which McKissic chalks it up as a learning experience for his group.

He said the team was a bit overwhelmed at its first state meet. To better prepare the team this season, he upgraded the schedule with the team running in several big meets.

“We are definitely looking forward to this coming weekend,” McKissic said.