The Berry Meet is trying out a new format this season due to adding 2 Collegiate races early. The high school division includes three heats of girls and three heats of boys seeded according to coaches entries. Accurate individual predicted times will allow all runners to race with comparable skilled runners. Team scoring will merge the three heats recognizing the top 5 individuals from each team for points and the 6-7 individuals for point displacement. If a school enters more than 7 runners the fastest seven to finish will be counted for the team scoring. High School girls at 9:30, High School boys at 10:15.
Armed with a sponsor this season the 7th edition of the 'Battle of Atlanta' has 60 teams signed up ready to run on historic Nash Farms Battlefield where a huge Civil War re-enactment is held every year. Last year's meet attracted close to 2000 runners more are registered this season. The Nash Farms course is a 2.5 loop 95% grass course. Most consider the course moderate and it is the most spectator friendly course in Georgia.
1A Private ROW's laid down some fast times during this past weekend. Kathryn Foreman of Landmark Christian is selected as Girls 'ROW' and 2014 1A Private 800/1600m Outdoor Champ Robby Keough is Week 1 Boys 'ROW'
The 2A 'Runners of the Week' selected were frosh Grace Clements from Bremen HS and Ben Davies from Holy Innocents.
3A definitely has a new look to it this season. Week 1 ROW's are Mary Claire Solomon from Blessed Trinity and soph Chase Kennedy from East Jackson.
In Week 1 for 6A Walton's Mitchell Sanders is Boys 'ROW' and South Forsyth's Savannah Carnahan is selected as 6A Girls 'ROW
Did 4A runners not come out like gangbusters in Week 1? Andrew Murfee from Woodward is the Week 1 'ROW' for Boys and Rebecca Entrekin of St. Pius X takes the 4A Girls honors.
Week 1 Ending 5A Runners of the week came from meets that were cross state from each other. Anna Hayden of Riverwood International School won Race 1 at Bon Blastow and 5A ruling distance 'King' Logan Poteet of Kell (at the Saucony Kickoff Classic in Savannah) just keeps winning races in GHSA competition. Can he Q' for Foot Locker Nats?
Week 1 Runners of the Week both took 1st at the Mercy XC Invitational including Sr. Reilly Friedman of Galloway and Jr Emma Grace Hurley of Fellowship Christian. Congrats to these athletes having wow performances so early meaning they put in some Summer mileage..
Alan Webb, American record holder in the mile, will be coming to the at&t Panther XC invitational on September 6th hosted by Starr’s Mill High School in Peachtree City.
The first program of its kind to identify, recognize and award the future stars and faces of the sport, Hoka One One and MileSplit will showcase the best underclassmen runners of high school cross country this fall.
On an incredibly hot and humid day of racing at Roper Park, teams came out to scorch the competition. Milton Boys proved they are ready for the big show this year, having 5 in the top 7 made the race an easy win with 22 points. On the girls side, it was a race between two teams, Heritage Catoosa and Milton. In the end Heritage Catoosa proved stronger and made a last mile push to win by 16.
It was a hot one at Clinton Nature Preserve as 42 schools, including many of the top rated teams in their respective classes warmed up early and raced with a few surprises.. Clarkston's Boys came out strong winning their race as did Woodward. Forsyth Central displayed their strength placing 2nd behind Clarkston. Alex Murfee had the quickest Boys time in 15:54. Blessed Trinity's girls bested St.Pius in Race 1 while Cambridge came out on top in Race 2. Kathryn Foreman as usual disapeared early having the best performance of the meet for girls in hotter conditions at 18:24.
North Hall lived up to their pre-season 4A #1 Ranking besting Marist and North Oconee's boys squads. Frank Pittman has stepped it up for Marist winning the Championship Boys overall title in 16:15 nipping NH's Quintin Miles. Marist Girls unleash a frosh girl Josie Wirtz who leads them to the Championship Girls team title. Savannah Carnahan takes the Girls overall title in 19:00.
Compared to many meets today the Mercy Campus was about empty by 10:45am as the heat rushed patrons and runners alike to their cars/busses to get cool. The Individual Varsity races were a display of domination by Reilly Friedman and FCA's Emma Grace Hurley. Whitewater's Boys took the team title over a deeper Rockdale Co squad. Mega-school Centennial won the Girls Varsity team race. On a sad note, Helen Williams of AIS is out for the season with stress fracture of the hip.
No conversation in 1A Girls Private can begin without the name of Kathryn Foreman being mentioned...A Foot Locker National finalist, sponsor of fund-raising 5Ks for the needy and honor student she has it all....and kid sis' Sarah joins the Varsity this season making it a real family affair for the Landmark Christian runners.
1A Private Boys is arguably the 3rd most competitive Class in the GHSA despite its schools tiny enrollment. Already one of the top runners All-Class, rumor has it that Galloway's Reilly Friedman has put in 70 mile weeks in Summer training which is scary....especialy for his 1A Private competition.
After the insanity that occurred at last season's Girls AA race things should be status quo for Wesleyan's Girls. It could end up being quite a season for their XC program as the Wolves are clear #1's on the boys side and now the Girls. Darlington is a formidable opponent they must dispatch as they have moved up in Class and were 3rd in testy 1A Private last Fall.
The Wesleyan School is the top rated 2ABoys squad coming into the Fall Season. A strong 2nd last season to Westminster at State makes them the team to beat. What's interesting about this Class is every top 13 school returns 5-6 runners from the top 7 except Darlington....
Teams from around the state will start their season off up in Jasper at Roper Park this Saturday for the Pickens Preview. A total of 21 high schools and 11 middle school teams, bringing over 1000 runners to compete will make this one of the biggest races of the weekend! The course is very interesting as runners will get to run through a tunnel that runs underneath the road on the way to some trails, then back again to the park and the finish. The day starts off with both middle school races, followed by the Varsity high school races then JV.
Its much more clear who the top returning 2A Girls are because their pr's correlated to their State meet performances more so than the Boys. 2 time defending champ jr Emma Garrison returns to defend her titles and is an overwhelming favorite to repeat after dominating everyone in XC.
No disrespect to 2A Boys, but it remains the weakest Class teamwise/individually (excluding A PUB) Which actually opens up great opportunities for a few good men to step up and get some notoriety. 8 of the top 9 at State have graduated/moved up which really makes it WIDE OPEN. The top 5 fastest returners all clocked their pr's on 'Speedways' so its anyone guess who really are the top 5 harriers. Wesleyan has 3 of the top returners from the State meet making them instantly favorites for a team title with Westminster gone.
3A Girls is going to bring back memories of some great Blessed Trinity vs Westminster state battles from back in the day. Blessed Trinity placed 1st in super tough 3A last season and Westminster tied Wesleyan in a contraversial after awards presentation decision reached by the GHSA. Its going to be great watching them knock heads again. Oconee County has a great shot at making the Podium based on data, with 4 other schools legit contenders to crack that stage and get some props.
Who are these guys? I have to admit, they have never been on the radar since I joined gatfxc.com, but after their 10th place finish in highly competitive AAA last Fall find themselves #5 heading into this Saturday.
Westminster was decimated by graduation losses returning only 2 of their top 7 boys and the Cats have some work to do to win, or even contend for a 3A title this season. But with a program their size, surely there is talent that longtime coach Joe Tribble can hone in time for a ran come November.
Oconee County is going to benefit this season from their improvement the past 2 seasons and the departure of now 4A contenders NOHS, North Hall, St. Pius. Its been along time since a Warrior team has been on the Podium (2005) and that was a bitter pill to swallow after falling 2 seasons straight to an arguably less talented/not as deep Westminster squad.
This could be the year East Jackson contends for a state title and has their best finish since placing 2nd in 2009. Hall of Fame coach Tomy Sitton has been instrumental in continuing to build the program slowly after Coach Bob Roller retired a few years back. If their 5-7 runners develop they could be dangerous.
Blessed Trinity's boys have emerged as 3A Pre-Season #1. Having the 4 fastest returning boys (by time) and 6 returners from the top 7 puts a target on their back for Podium contenders.
One thing about 3A Girls is very clear...Hart County soph Audrey Honiotes now has an open door to run thru and dominate the Class after a superb frosh season. There's plenty of girls going to be in the chase from Westminster, Blessed Trinity and a region rival from Banks County though...
Its a brand new Rodeo in 3A this season with powerhouse teams moving up to 4A this season. One has to go down to 18th place in last year's 3A race to find fastest returners in this article. Westminster has finally moved up in Class after dominating AA for years which means a new champ will be crowned in 3A both teamwise and individually. Blessed Trinity boasts the top 4 in fastest returning times, but watch out for a few East Jackson harriers who have been receiving the benefit of some World Class coaching.
Heritage-Catoosa opened up just a few years ago, and since their inaugural season back in 2008 placing 6th, have been consistently one of top Girls teams first in 3A and the past few seasons in 4A. Before its opening, crosstown Lakeview Ft.Oglethorpe had been doing very well, but it seems like as if the old program just moved into the new school.
The worm has definitely begin to turn for White County since Coach Sam Borg has been associated with the program. Having one of the top runners All-Class in jr Jenna Gearing has definitely been a boost as well. The Warriors made the Podium for the first time in recent school history (I think) after placing 11th and 8th.