Lakeside senior is bound for Georgia

Justin Williams
Lakeside senior Anna Bowles signed to run at the University of Georgia. She will attempt to defend her state title in the 3,200.

At her first high school cross country meet, Anna Bowles was an unassuming Lakeside freshman facing off against top, decorated runners from what had been a dominant Greenbrier squad.

On that day, she won the meet's individual crown. Though Lakeside didn't win as a team, the foundation was set for a special generation for the program.

"It was stunning," said Ken Bowles, Anna's father who serves as a community coach alongside head coach Jerry Meitin. "... We were the rag-tag team, with our basketball uniforms. Yet it was that meet that showed everybody that was on the team that year that things were possible."

Four years later, Anna Bowles has nearly completed one of the greatest high school running careers in the area. In the process, she helped Lakeside become a top-notch program in cross country and track and field.

On Wednesday afternoon, she signed a letter-of-intent to join the University of Georgia.

"Of course, I'm excited about finishing out senior year, but I'm really looking forward to being a part of the UGA team," Bowles said. "High school's been great because I've had (sister) Sarah (Bowles) and Katie (Townsend) pushing me.

"But I feel like next year I'll be able to get to that next level because there will be so much more competition."

In the fall, Bowles captured her second consecutive state title in the Class AAAA 5K meet. Last year, she won the state title in the 3,200.

Bowles and Townsend, who signed with Georgia Tech, have the seventh- and eleventh-best times, respectively, all-time among high school girls in Georgia in the 3,200.

They also helped Lakeside to a fourth-place team finish as juniors on the track side and a third-place finish this past season in cross country as seniors.

"It's an amazing thing to watch the other girls (teammates and future runners)," Meitin said. "I was talking to the mother of one of my juniors. I told her, 'Next year, this could be you. It may not be Georgia, but it can be somewhere.' "

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