The cross country season is over for every high school runner in South Carolina except one: Brent Demarest.
The Porter-Gaud junior is only one of 10 runners from the South and one of 40 across the nation who will compete in Saturday’s Foot Locker National Championship meet in San Diego.
“I’m excited for it,” said Demarest, who repeats as The Post and Courier’s male cross country runner of the year. “I’m a little nervous, but it should be fun to compete against the top guys in the country.”
Georgia Compton, a four-time All-Lowcountry selection from Wando, repeats as the female cross country runner of the year.
Demarest is the first athlete from the Lowcountry to qualify for nationals. He finished 10th at the Foot Locker Regionals in Charlotte with a time of 15 minutes, 6 seconds. His time was the second-best ever for a South Carolina runner on that course and the best time ever by a junior from South Carolina.
“It makes you feel special to get to compete in a race of that magnitude,” said Demarest, who recently won the AAU state championship in Lexington with a school-record time of 15:00. “It’s elite. I am only one of 10 runners from eight southern states who will run. I’m just going to go out there and do my best. Everything else is icing on the cake.”
Demarest’s time in Charlotte was much better than his time of 15:40.27 that gave him a gold medal at the SCISA state meet. But Demarest’s time improved ever since the swimming season concluded. He also won gold medals in the pool.
He is the only athlete in state history to win two individual state championships in the same season. He also won titles in swimming and cross country last fall.
Compton concluded an impressive career by finishing third in the High School League’s Class AAAA meet with a time of 18:39.44. She’s not sure if she will continue to run at the college level.
“It’s up for debate right now,” Compton said. “I’ll be happy whether I’m running or not.”
Compton’s career might be over, but the Compton legacy will continue at the Mount Pleasant school. Her sister, Rosa Marie, is a sophomore who finished 10th at the state meet with a time of 19:03.14.
“She is a big inspiration,” Compton said. “I’ll miss running with her, but I am excited to see her future because she’s so dedicated and works hard.”
Demarest is joined on the boys’ team by Andrew Gawryluk, Wando; Christian Widenhouse, Bishop England; Ross Jordan, Stratford; Andrew Tyler, Wando; Matt Lucius, Summerville; Kane Cameron, Porter-Gaud; Jacob Spencer, Wando.
Joining the Compton sisters on the girls’ team is Mary Stewart Wilson, James Island; Lucie Kulze, Academic Magnet; Melissa Fairey, Wando; Maryah Nasir, Pinewood Prep; Sam Bergeson, James Island and Bethany Reeves, Stratford.
Hugh Knight, who led Porter-Gaud to the state title, is the boys coach of the year. David Lee and Lisa Enfinger, who led James Island to the Class AAA state title, are girls coaches of the year.
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil