WHS cross country Runners bring state title home after 3-year gap
Waccamaw High’s girls cross country team won the Class 3A state championship on Nov. 11, led by Anna Margaret Loftus, who won the individual title.
It’s the third title for the team in the last six years.
“This team is an amazing group of young ladies,” said Warriors coach Brian White, who was named the Class 3A coach of the year. “They performed so well at the State meet. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
“It was amazing,” Loftus said. “I was so much more thrilled for the team title than the individual title.”
The Warriors finished second at State in 2018, 2019 and 2020 after winning the title in 2015 and 2017.
“You always want to break through and when you do break through, it can be emotional,” White said. “There were a lot of tears shed, but those were all tears of joy. It was an amazing, incredible feeling to finally reach the top of the mountain.”
White had an inkling the Warriors would do well at State, especially after they won the Eye Opener and Coaches Classic races in the same season for the first time since White he been coach.
“I felt like if you win two of the biggest races in the state you should be in contention for the state championship,” White said. “You just go into that last race and pray you can get those same types of performances like you got in those big races.”
Waccamaw finished with 67 points. Daniel was second with 73 points and Bishop England was third with 92.
“It was really close between Daniel High School, Bishop England and us. We didn’t know until they pulled our coaches aside,” Loftus said. “When we figured out we were going to win we were so excited. It was an amazing feeling. We worked so hard to achieve that goal and we finally made it through.”
Loftus finished in a time of 19:18. Nora Brahim of Bishop England (19:35) was second and Nicole Feagan of Seneca (19:55) was third.
“I was kind of shocked. It didn’t feel real at first,” Loftus said. “I was hoping and dreaming about it for so long, I think I just couldn’t believe it. I was so excited and I wanted to hug somebody. So I hugged my mom.”
“Anna Margaret has worked so incredibly hard and this year I think she had it set in her mind that she was going to go out and she was going to be the best that she could possibly be,” White said. “She put in a lot of hours and a lot of work to get to this point from the seventh grade up to now. Her growth has just been outstanding. You couldn’t ask for a better runner, you couldn’t ask for a better person.”
Other Waccamaw times: Rachael Neill 20:40, Clare Fico 21:06, Kayla Sheedy 21:10, Lila Jennings 21:49, Dawson Richardson 22:13, and Sophie Harden 23:49.
“I knew that these girls would do what they had to do and rise up when the occasion came,” White said. “They did just an unbelievable job.”
“Coach White instilled a lot of confidence in us so we came in really confident,” Loftus said. “We believed in each other and we loved each other and we knew we could do it. We were just working for one another.”
Loftus and Neill were named to the Class 3A All-State team.
White said Neill, a senior who has been on the team since the seventh grade, saved her best performance for last.
“She ran an unbelievable race,” White said. “I was so proud of her because she’s worked extremely hard and battled to come up through these last four or five years. To finally break through and have a real successful season and go out an All-State runner, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
This is the fourth coach of the year award for White: three for cross country and one for track.
“It’s just gratifying because of all the work you put in and all the work the team has put in has paid off,” White said. “You see the fruits of your labor.”
Bishop England (75 points) won the boys title. Pendleton (105) was second, Wren (113) was third and Waccamaw (143) was fourth.
Ronan O’Neill of Pendleton (15:54) won the individual title for the boys. Justin Hafner of Bishop England (16:14) was second, and Hank Linder of Bishop England (16:55) was third.
Ross Fallaw (17:08) had the best time for Waccamaw and finished sixth.
Other Waccamaw times: Wade Leventis 18:06, Corrin Green 18:13, Julian Bradley 18:39, Jalen Hoxie 18:55, Ellis Quigley 20:33 and Charlie Withington 24:09.