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Two McDuffie runnners power Prep cross county team

Augusta Prep cross country coach Mike Burley's speech to his team before its state meet didn't deal with individuals his runners would have to beat.

He gave his team the names and jersey colors of what he thought would be the Cavaliers' toughest competition and told his runners to stay ahead of them.

Augusta Prep's girls did, edging Stratford Academy by a point to win the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA state meet on Oct. 27.

Two of Augusta Prep's team members are from Thomson. Laura Lemley is the daughter of Jamie and Jacqueline Lemley, and Maggie Burch is the daughter of George and Karen Burch.

Coach Burley credited Laura for being the senior leader of the squad.

"From ninth grade to now, she has improved more than just about any runner I've worked with, finishing her year with the 15th fastest time in the history of Prep," he said.

Meanwhile, he's looking forward to Maggie returning to the team next year.

"I noted how determined she was to make the team, and she had some early season disappointments, worked extra hard to prove her position on the state team," he said. "I suspect she will excel further next year as a senior."

The close margin of the girls meet had Burley and Cavaliers athletic director Tom Holodak sweating the outcome.

"When we had our little prep meeting, I said there are certain people they were going to have to hang with and beat at the end," Coach Burley said. "With cross country, every position counts. All the girls had to do their portion and push through what they think is their personal pain barrier to a new level. I think they all did that."

Web posted on Thursday, November 13, 2008

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