FPD Cross Country Looks To Finish Strong

Both FPD Cross Country Teams will be competing tomorrow in Carrollton at the Class-A State Meet after a strong showing all season as individuals and together as teams. Both teams enter the state meet after a strong showing in the Area-1 Race, which was held on the current FPD “home” course, the Georgia Industrial Children’s Home. The boys finished 3rd behind two of the top five schools in the state and the girls finished 4th in the area to qualify for the state meet. This will be the boys 3rd state meet in the last four years and the girls first state meet since 2014.


The FPD Boys Cross Country Team hasn’t finished outside the top 10 all season except for the Clara Bowl Invitational in Rome, where they finished 34th overall, but they did finish 2nd among the Class-A schools. This team has also finished in the top four in eight of their ten races this season and was the top Class-A school in seven of eight meets. This season has seen the boys continually improving all of their times the entire season.  Every FPD runner had their personal best time two weeks ago in the Howard Invitational, where the team also would take home 1st place, and sophomore Jack Hardy would beat that time in the area meet just last week heading into the state meet.


“Our goal was to improve over the course of the season,” said senior Cooper Martin. “We all wanted and had a desire to improve not only individually but also as a team. Our goal was to have our top 5 runners under 20 minutes and we have achieved that with our average now under 19 minutes.”


They’ll be competing against 27 other Class-A Private Schools tomorrow in Carrollton and are currently ranked 13th in the state. “Our expectations are to finish in the top 10 tomorrow and we have the ability to do it,” said head coach Derek Lashley. The FPD Boys Cross Country team has been led all season by freshman Jack Beeland with a time of 18:21. The other top runners are sophomore Jack Hardy (18:28), senior Cooper Martin (18:40), sophomores Camden Lashley (19:01) and Wyatt Hicks (19:45).


The FPD Girls Cross Country Team enters tomorrow’s state meet after a two-year drought. They finished in the top eight in every race but two, while also defeating every county wide school at least once in the meets they competed in. “At the start of the season our goal was to qualify for state,” said Lashley. “Our girls worked hard all year with that goal in mind.”


The Lady Vikings are led by freshman Reese Lefholz, who finished 11th overall in the Area-1 Meet with her personal best of the season time 23:50. Other top Lady Viking runners are juniors Mia Ferro (24:26), and Mary Jane Bonfim (25:01), sophomore Anna Grace Reeves (25:49) and junior Karsten Herron (26:32) which was her personal best for the season. “My expectations for the girls at state is to finish in the top 15. I know those are high expectations but these girls can do it. They work hard,” said Lashley.


FPD will run on one of their toughest courses of the season tomorrow, but that hasn’t hurt their confidence or their preparation. “We’re ready. We’re ready to run hard and fast,” said freshman Jack Beeland. “This is our last time to run with our friends and run together as a team. We want to finish strong for each other.”



The boys race starts at 10:30 Friday morning with the girls following at 11:10.