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Waccamaw girls cross country wins 3rd state title in last 7 years

COLUMBIA – Waccamaw High School's girls cross country team has now reached the top of the mountain three times in the last seven years.

The team won the Class AAA state championship at Sandhills Research Center in Columbia on Nov. 11 with a 20:49 average time for 67 points in the 5,000-meter run. The Warriors can now add 2021 to its list of state titles, which also includes 2015 and 2017.

Cross country is like golf scoring-wise; the lower your team scores, the better.

“It means a lot,” said Waccamaw coach Brian White, who was named Class AAA coach of the year. “We worked hard and we had a great season, and these girls really were prepared and went through a lot during the season to get to that point. It’s just a great feeling for the entire team, the school and the community.”

Leading the way for the Warriors was junior Anna Margaret Loftus, who finished first overall with a time of 19:18.14. She was also named all-state, along with senior Rachael Neill and sophomore Clare Fico.

“She was a great motivation,” Waccamaw freshman runner Kayla Sheedy said of Loftus. “Every practice she was always upbeat and cheered everybody on no matter where we were.”

Neill finished 10th with a time of 20:40.53, Fico placed 14th in 21:06.75, Sheedy was 16th in 21:10.47 and eighth-grader Lilah Jennings placed 34th with a time of 21:49.77.

"I am so excited to have won state as an individual and even more excited to have contributed to the team title," Loftus said. "We have worked so hard for three years and it's such a huge blessing to share it with the girls that I love so much."

Waccamaw had finished state runner-up the last three years, so that made this win even sweeter for Neill, who was in her fifth and final year with the varsity squad.

“We had been second in the past three years, so I was really happy that we won, especially since I won’t be there next year,” Neill said. “It was very satisfying. We had been in this really good mindset and really positive. We all really wanted it a lot, so it was very satisfying to get that win.”

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