Warhawks Orienteering Team Wins Seventh Championship – Henry County Times

After missing a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the McDonough High School and Academy of Advanced Studies orienteering team won its seventh national championship this spring, sweeping all school events in the competition.

The team competed a recent weekend in a rescheduled Southeast Interscholastic Orienteering Championship that is held in Georgia every year, according to coach David Moss. Everyone receives a national ranking after completing two days at the event, and most riders also compete at the national level.

The Warhawks entered the courses on day one just as three hours of heavy rain began to fall after their main competitor, Hillgrove High, finished their race.

The orienteering team from McDonough High School and the Academy for Advanced Studies won its seventh national championship this spring. special picture

“Running through the woods across the country is already very difficult; it’s hard to train for that type of environment,” Moss said. “But our orienteers kept their focus and had a great day, much better than I could imagine.”

After a detailed virtual debriefing that night, the 12-person team regrouped the following morning at Don Carter State Park in Gainesville. They were looking to sweep all four categories for the fourth time in five years.

There was no awards ceremony due to COVID-19 safety regulations, but the Warhawks learned online at the end of the day that they had won all categories.

“It was a record performance,” Moss said. “No team has ever wiped the slate clean except the Warhawks, and now four out of five. I’m so proud of this group of students.

The performance also marked a huge personal comeback for the returning squad members, who landed in Washington DC in March last year just in time to learn that the Navy National Championship meet was canceled at the start of the pandemic.

“Our hearts were just plain broken,” said Moss, Henry County High School’s teacher of the year for 2015-16. “Even having a season [this year] was something that many would never have thought would happen.

Team members include Kevon Benton, Conner Malone, Tanasya Francis, Mikal Moreland, Fredrick Godby, Angelina Vargas, Amari Cooper, Nizayah Carter, Ethan Adams, Sahara Brewington, Roman Colley, and Gabriel DeGracia.
Benton, Godby and Vargas are seniors. Benton is the team captain. Malone, Francis and Moreland are co-captains.
Moreland attends Woodland High. Vargas attends Locust Grove High School. Adams and DeGracia attend Hampton High.

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Dino J. Dotson