By: The Eatonton Messenger:

For Putnam County runners, three has been a lucky number.

For the third consecutive week, the War Eagles placed third overall during their recent performance at the Rick Boulis Invitational Meet, hosted by Morgan County High School, on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The Lady Eagles also had a good day, finishing third out of eight teams at the meet.

The Eagles were led by sophomore Jacob Little, who finished 13th overall and was among the top 15 finishers who received medals. Little completed the race with a 19:30.84 on the 5K course, which is now his new personal best, and was followed close behind by senior Dylan Lindsey with a 19:44.51 time.

Little wasn’t alone in earning personal bests, however. Eleven War Eagle runners earned a new best personal time in Madison: Cole Griffin (19:46.90), Drequan Aikens (21:21.37), Michael Little (22:31.80), Michael Ramirez-Perez (23:07.01), Caleb Hildreth (23:09.42), Lane Register (23:12.94), Rodney Little (23:13.98), Rhett Boyer (23:16.44), Terrell Williams (23:41.65), Rodney Daniel (27:42.10) and Cody Brown (28:53.28) all raised the bars for their running careers with new personal bests.

Griffin was one young runner that Putnam cross-country coach Andrew Grodecki singled out.

“He’s a freshman, but he had a great performance,” Grodecki said. “He is starting to figure out how to race.”

As for the Lady Eagles, senior Shelby Herring joined Little as the 13th overall finisher and received a top 15 medal, too. She was able to finish as the leading Lady Eagle with a 5K time of 24:46.97.

For Grodecki, the finish was among the best he had earned as coach at Putnam County.

“The performance by the ladies was the best showing since I’ve come to the helm,” Grodecki said. “Our ladies came ready to race. I’m very proud of all their performances. Our No. 5 runner, Lily Thomas, really stepped it up today and she will continue to improve throughout the season. Her improvement was key to our third-place finish.”

A freshman, Thomas earned her coach’s praise by finishing the race with a 29:33.10 finish, a new personal best for her. Other Lady Eagles who picked up new personal bests included Lily McWhorter (26:19.90), Rebecca Hildreth (26:25.48), Bethany Parham (35:32.15) and Mayjewel Crosby (40:11.21).

The Putnam County runners will take part in the Release the Hounds Invitational, hosted by Jones County High School in Gray, on Saturday, Sept.

15. The War Eagles and Lady Eagles are on the rise, and Grodecki expects them to be among the state’s best teams by next week.

“Putnam County is a team to watch,” Grodecki said. “We’re hoping to be ranked next week.”

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