By Carey Phillips


Smoky Mountain’s men finished first and the women were second in a three-team cross country meet last Thursday at Rabun Gap, Georgia.

“I’m very proud of the kids,” Coach Adam Phillips said. “It was hot, and it was hilly. 

“They spent quite a bit of time on the pavement as well. It was a great race.”

Five runners for the men and four for the women were in the top 10.

The men had 26 points to 47 for Rabun County and 56 for Rabun Gap.

The Mustangs took the top two spots as Caleb Phillips was first in 19:55 and Zeb Mathis was second in 20:34. Completing SM’s top five were:

Parker Smith, fourth, 22:06; Aidan Menickelli, ninth, 22:51; and Coleman Hopfinger, 10th, 23:05.

Rabun County won the women’s meet with 22 points to SM’s 40 and Rabun Gap’s 63.

Maia Wilde led the Lady Mustangs as she was third in 24:54. Rounding out SM’s top five were:

Sophia Ammons, fifth, 25:34; Vanessa Saldago, eighth, 28:12; Lydia Norman, 10th, 30:10; and Morgana McCullough, 14th, 30:52.

Lily Buenting did not participate due to leg issues but hopes to return soon, according to Phillips.

“That’s probably one of the slowest courses we will be on all year,” he said.

He said Saldago performed well in her first 5K and singled out Norman for stepping up in Buenting’s absence.

“Coach (Nathan) Frizzell and I are very proud of both teams,” Phillips said.