Philip Simmons High School opened in 2017, and just six years later, the Iron Horses are well on the way to building their first sports dynasty.
The Iron Horse girls captured their second straight Class AAA state cross-country championship on Nov. 10 with a convincing 32-73 victory over Daniel in Newberry. Wren held down third place with 108 points.
The Iron Horses will be more than a one- or two-hit wonder. Of the seven runners who competed in the state championship, five are scheduled to return next year – and for years to come.
Sophomore Ava Mallek led the Iron Horses to the title with a national elite time of 18:51.96 over the 5-kilometer course to claim the gold medal. Eighth-grader Laura Perry finished in fourth place with a national elite time of 19:36.53.
It was Mallek’s first victory at a major meet.
“She ran really well,” coach Josh Michael said. “She finished fourth in the Coaches Classic and ran well in the state championship. It was the first time we had a girl win the individual championship. That’s extra icing and caps a great season.”
Sophomores Keziah Varner and Anna Alomar finished eighth and ninth, respectively while senior Emmy Wood finished 10th to give the Iron Horses five all-state performers. The other runners who competed in Newberry were eighth-grader Lilah May and senior Josie May.
PSHS BOYS CROSS-COUNTRY TAKE SECOND IN STATE
Wren edged the Iron Horses 64-76 to win the boys’ Class AAA state championship. Walhalla was third with 100 points.
The Iron Horse boys have been a model of consistency. They finished second in the state for the third time in six years.
“The boys really fought hard,” Michael said. “We’ve been battling through some injuries and that might have been a factor. That finish, it’s something that our runners can be super proud of.”
Pierce Walker finished in fourth place to lead the Iron Horses. He covered the course with a national elite effort of 16:18.59 to earn all-state honors along with Ryan Rousseau who was 13th and Joseph Wright 14th.
Ian Mullaney finished in 16th and Wesley Patterson was 19th. Burket Yaun and Matthew Perry also ran for the Iron Horses.