December 1, 2007

Road runners

Northwest's Bowman, Dalton's Grass exceeded the limits

Daniel Grass has run this course before. Grass, the distance ace for Dalton High School, parlayed months-long consistency into a strong senior season and his second consecutive All-Area Cross Country Male Runner of the Year honor, as selected by area coaches and The Daily Citizen’s sports staff.

“Overall I did decent,” Grass said. “I didn’t accomplish some goals I set before the year, but my best moment was at the Cass/Cartersville meet when I ran my season’s best time of 16:59.”

Grass won that meet. He also finished second at the Region 7-4A meet at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome and third in the Ridge Ferry Invitational. In both events, Grass helped the Catamounts to second-place finishes.

Grass, who turns 18 on Thursday, is joined on the boys’ All-Area team by Northwest Whitfield’s Jonathan LaVelle and Daniel Horseman, Murray County’s Josh Stanley and Jesus Martinez of Southeast.

Northwest’s Sydnee Bowman, whose 10th-place finish propelled the Lady Bruins to third place in the region meet, is the All-Area Female Runner of the Year.

Also garnering selections to the squad were the Lady Bruins’ Sarah Boyd, Murray County’s Martha Gonzalez, Southeast’s Ediht Azua and Dalton’s Rocio Jacobo.

Bowman and Azua were All-Area picks in 2006 as well.

Grass turned in a solid senior season despite a couple of nagging injuries — tendinitis in his Achilles and a painful hip.

He ran a 17:18 for his runner-up finish at the region meet and a 17:16 at the Ridge Ferry Invitational. His 17:41 earned a 16th-place finish at the Optimist meet in Chattanooga and he was 47th in the Class 4A state event with a 17:35.87.

“At region I felt physically like I could beat anybody who had beaten me during the season,” said Grass, who runs six times a week for up to a total of 50 miles. “At state, I just didn’t perform all that well, but I’m using that as motivation for track season.”

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