The Week Ending 9-13 'Runners of the Week' came from Warpath Invitational held at the hard packed fast Boling Park course. Picken's County star Sean Parker and Marist's Caitie Faust are the 4A 'ROWs" selected.
Once again, the action at the Carrollton Orthopedic Invitational determined runners of the week. Sam Bowie from Lagrange is selected as the Boys 5A 'ROW' and it was difficult to find her in the race pics, but Starrs Mill frosh Mary Valli is your 5A Girls 'ROW' after a great first race on "the State Course".
The Week Ending 6A 'Runners of the Week' came from the Carrollton Orthopedic meet and the fast Warpath Invitational. Selected athletes are Etowah's Kingsley Green and Marietta's Khayvonn Benson (pictured above)
The All-Class 'Runners of the Week' as well as many of the 'Classes' came out of the Carrollton Orthopedic Classic this past Saturday. Chozen were Lindsay Billings (pictured) of Northview HS and Issac Penman of Peachtree Ridge.
In only its 2nd year, The Furman Classic, run on the golf course at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, hosted over 20 large and small colleges from around the southeast as well as over 20 high schools from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Having lengthened the loop course to compensate for the questionably “short track” last year (but still maintaining the log and hay bale jumps), this year’s races were run in the haze and humidity that has become prevalent this time of year. Nevertheless, strong times were turned in by the leading runners. And the Georgia teams fared very well against some stiff Southeastern competition.
Released are the Middle School Girls 'Fast 50' thru 9-13..With Middle Schoolers running so many different length courses (2 Mile, 3200, 3000) its hard to gauge who the fastest MS Girls are, so I am including a 'Fast 50' for each distance in this version week ending 9-13. Let's keep in mind its been confirmed that NEGA and Fall Run Away 3000's were both a little short...and Lee County Invite has been noted as short or extremely fast (Photo by Dan McCauley)
With Middle Schoolers running so many different length courses (2 Mile, 3200, 3000) its hard to gauge who the fastest MS Boys are, so I am including a 'Fast 50' for each distance in this version week ending 9-13. Let's keep in mind its been confirmed that NEGA and Fall Run Away 3000's were both a little short...and Lee County Invite has been noted as short or extremely fast...(Image by Dan McCauley)
This week begins with ga.milesplit's Middle School 'Runners of the Week' It needs to be understood that courses vary in distance, terrain and difficulty and these selections are made as objectively as possible..but several 'honorable mentions' are chosen as well. 7th grader and defending MS State Champ Sydney Runyan is MS Girls 'ROW' after her win at Warpath Invitational.
This week begins with ga.milesplit's Middle School 'Runners of the Week' It needs to be understood that courses vary in distance, terrain and difficulty and these selections are made as objectively as possible..but several 'honorable mentions' are chosen as well. For the MS Boys Sean Rager of the Alpha Crush is MS Boys 'ROW' after his performance at Warpath Invitational.
Milton travelled to the Roanoke Valley of Virginia competing at the 11th Annual Knights Crossing Invitational hosted by Cave Spring High School competing against some regional and nationally-ranked teams from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia & West Virginia in very damp but cool conditions
The Winder-Barrow Invite had 12 HS teams and 11 MS/Clubs made the trip to Bramlett Elementary this past Saturday. Archer's Boys and Johns Creek's Girls won the Varsity team races while the Junior Hoyas from Cobb County stole the MS team trophy and Rabun County MS took the Girls hardware back to the mountains. Dax Willette, McKenzie Knudson, Andrew Scott and Katya Bessiere ran to individual titles in the Varsity and MS races. all photos by Dan McCauley
69 schools competed at the rejuvenated Carrollton Orthopedic Invitaional from as far south (or more) as Melbourne Florida. Some incredible racing occured, but Ga.MileSplit was unable to be onsite for this event and reports as to what transpired have been non-existent on the Discussion Board. A few things are certain, Lindsay Billings ran great winning the Championship Girls Overall title and Leon County (FL) Sukhi Khosla was untouchable as he dominated with a season best time of 15:53.
What Could be better than getting 2 different perspectives of the action Saturday at Boling Park. Logan Poteet was flawless as usual, is 'Iceman' a good description of his running strategy?
Warpath produced some blazing times this morning with many teams finally running a cooler morning race. It was very humid, but teams couldn't complain as there was cloud cover all day, including the later JV races. The track was packed firm and quick and some great competition produced super speedy September times. Logan Poteet was machine-like again winning unfettered while Emma Grace Hurley held off a late charge by Morgan Ilse taking the overall title.
Lamar Murphy Park course provided some good racing Saturday morning as the #1 ranked 3A Boys East Jackson won once again on the strength of its top 4 runners placing in the top 5 in the race easily winning the 8th Annual Eagle Invitational. Chase Kennedy added another win to his resume in 16:21..6A North Gwinnett's Girls edged a game 4A Buford squad by 3 points taking the Girls team title. East Jackson frosh Sue Anne Moralis continued to run well winning Girls overall in 20:37
After maybe having a few less teams attend than in the past, the Carrollton Orthopedic Invitational is 67 HS teams strong again and should have over 2000 runners registered for action Saturday. Many of the top programs in Georgia will run their entire squads and a few will hold out their top runners for another day... The Sunshine State has arguably three of the best boys teams in the state, two of the best girls teams in the state , the top freshman in the state on the girls side, and a potential foot locker finalist in Sukhi Khosla on the boys side lacing it up with our state's student-athletes. Its a star studded event that could turn into a barnburner depending on what teams from Ga choose to run in the Championship race....
Warpath looks like an interesting meet even with a few teams not running their varsity. On this quick course where only two have broken 15:40, Logan Poteet will be trying to reset his own course record. This 3 loop course has had some changes based on previous events held at the course. This year the middle school runners will be running last which puts the Varsity Girls start at 8am. This race looks like its setting up to be a good race to run a season PR for most.
It was another great (but hot) afternoon at the Jefferson Crows Lake MS meet as 20 teams converged upon Jefferson coming as far away as north Atlanta. That school would be Marist who handily won both Varsity MS races. A special moment was a middle school student played the Star Spangled Banner on an electric guitar ala Jimi Hendrix which drew a loud ovation after completion. Pictured above is Madison Britt from Prince Avenue Christian as she won the the MS Girls race.
Galloway's Boys for the first time in recent history rose to #1 in the 1A Private Boys rankings after the Georgia XC Invitational (what has become of this former HUGE meet?) Landmark's boys moved up a spot and Providence Christian jumped 4 spots after their win at Athens Academy meet 9-3. On the Girls side a #5 has surfaced for Landmark cementing their top ranking while Athens Academy moved up to 2nd passing ACS who moved to 3rd.
Our Ranker saw alot of movement in this class as teams were dropping like flies in the 2A Boys rankings after Bleckley County's results from Kosh Classic wer figured in. Also, earlier tonight at the Warner Robins Invite Bleckley placed 2nd in Varsity Boys and their girls were 5th. Pace's boys and Lovett's girls held onto their #1 spots and Wesleyan's boys moved up a spot after Covered Bridge.
3A Rankings were very similar to 4A's for wek ending 9-6. Oconee County's Girls swapped places with Savannah Arts at 6-7 and Blessed Trinity's boys moved ahead of Oconee's boys after easily defeated Westminster at Covered Bridge. Blessed and Westminster's girls have not went head to head yet (as usual)
In 4A Boys the top 8 remained in the same positions with White County moving up to 9th and Sandy Creek busting the top10. Not much movement on the Girls side as well with only White County and Woodward swapping spots at 4-5.
Clarkston's Boys retain their top ranking despite not having ran in a weekend invite since Bob Blastow. Its possible they ran in a DeKalb meet... The top teams all moved up as Forsyth Central dropped a few spots and Creekview cracks the top 10. McIntosh and Starrs Mill moved into the top 2 spots after going head to head at ATT Panther.
Marietta's Boys stand pat, just like All-Class. Peachtree Ridge moves into 2nd after winning at Spurs & Spikes Invite with a 16:30 team average. Etowah and West Forsyth are 3rd/4th this week after a battle at Double Dip. Milton Boys moved up 2 spots to 5th after their win at Covered Bridge. Northview's Girls rocketed to the top of 6A Girls after winning handily at Covered Bridge with a 20:00 team average. South Forsyth rises to 3rd after Double Dip.
This week's All-Class Rankings have Marietta again at the top after a dominant performance at Cobb County. Etowah's boys cracked the top 10 moving up to 4th while Brookwood dropped 6 spots after Covered Bridge. Marist's and Northview's Girls rightfully moved to the top of the All-Class Girls rankings after their performances at Double Dip and Covered Bridge.
AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Jaguar men's cross country team is ranked sixth in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) preseason Division II regional team rankings. (via www.jaguarsroar.com)
Its tough to pick 1A Private ROWs, but the rankers (past and present) have chosen to not duplicate ROW picks in a 4 week time span. This in no way takes away from this week ending 9-6 picks as Shannon Fair from Aquinas (Augusta) and Adam Hearn from Athens Academy are this week's selections.
I'm wondering after 3 great races how we have missed Serena Triodi as a 2A 'Runner of the Week', but she earned it after her great run at Double Dip. Jack Douglass of Pace Academy is recognized as 2A Boys 'ROW' after his race at the NGTC Mountain Eagle Invite.
Audrey Honiotes endured the steam being baked of the long grass as the Varsity Girls race started and waved goodbye to a competitive NE Ga field earning 3A Girls 'ROW' 9-6. Blessed Trinity's Ben McCoy was the top 3A boy at Covered Bridge deserving of 'ROW' as well.
Marist athletes claimed the 4A 'Runner of the Week' honors after their defense of their home turf at the prestigous Coach Benson Double Dip Invitational. Frank Pittman (pictured) was 2nd overall and Josie Wirtz 7th in the Varsity Girls race.
The 5A 'Runners of the Week' selected both came from the 3rd Annual AT&T Panther Invitational at the pristine Heritage Christian Church course southeast of Peachtree City. Riverwood International School's Elizabeth Graves 3rd place performance and Lakeside Evans stud Christian Bowles overall win in the Varsity Boys race were key.
This past week's 6A 'Runners of the Week' had outstanding races on Saturday at different venues. West Forsyth's John Green worked his magic at Double Dip and Lindsay Billings from Northview ripped apart the 'Covered Bridge' course in Roswell finishing :06 behind Emma Grace Hurley of FCS. .
The All-Class Runners of the Week were dominate in their races as Marist's Morgan Ilse won at Double Dip and Logan Poteet at Cobb County by a larger margin. Its possible they could go undefeated this Fall in GHSA competition.
On a cool and foggy morning at the UGA Equestrian Complex, something occurred that has not happened for five. years. The Georgia cross-country teams failed to sweep their season-opening event. (via The Red and Black)
Marietta sweeps team bragging rights as Poteet Kehoe represent for east Cobb - ACWORTH — For the second straight year Marietta’s boys and girls teams swept the county cross country championships at the Cobb Corps Property. Individually Kell’s Loga...
For the second straight year, Marietta’s boys and girls teams swept the county cross country championships at the Cobb Corps Property. (via mdjonline.com)
Warmer temperatures offset any potential time gains on the new course layout at Covered Bridge, but some runners and teams seemed undeterred as a new course record was set in the girls’ race. Over 1400 runners competed in 6 races, with the varsity races and the middle school races all having a few individuals turning in outstanding performances as they considerably outran the field.
It was lights out at the Cobb County Championships with a tight Varsity Girls team race with Marietta sliding by Harrison and Walton for the title. Ashley Kehoe built on her win last week following with another overall title. Marietta's boys continued to steamroll the competition while Kell's Logan Poteet was unchallenged.
At the Coach Roy Benson Double Dip Invitational a few teams bared their fangs and showed how good they can be this season. Marist's girls as usual were too deep and strong winning by 49 points with Morgan Ilse taking overall champ. John Green from West Forsyth let it all hang out earning a major invite overall title. West Forsyth's program had a great day overall and Etowah's Boys walked away with the Boys team title by 2 points. Image by Kevin Carnahan
It was a hot one up at North Georgia Technical College's all grass course. As the sun rose moisture from the grass seemed to turn into steam as conditions for the Varsity Girls race were tough. It didn't seem to slow Hart's Audrey Honiotes as she won easily and Mountain View's Tyler Barber enjoyed success a race earlier winning Boys Varsity overall.
Today was a great day for racing at Woodstock’s Battle of the Fairways at Laurel Canyon Golf community in Canton, GA. The weather was ideal for an early September race and the well laid-out course was beautiful and very challenging.
This year’s edition of Covered Bridge features a reconfigured 2 lap course with the potential to post faster times than ever. Given that the course has fewer twists and turns, if weather is good times should approach course records. Add to that a strong field, especially in the girls’ race and the outlook is great for some exceptional performances.
For reference, the original article has been linked at the bottom of the page. Simply click next. Worth the read, if you haven't already. (via MileSplit)
Some intense competition was answered at Saucony Battle of Atlanta as 1A Private ROWs Colson Hagan of Hebron Christian and Nicole Fegans from Landmark Christian showed their mettle.
2A 'Runners of the Week' ending 8-30 were Darlington's Spencer Fields and Greater Atlanta Christian's Abby Kettle. Fields challenged top runners in the state at Berry and Kettle ran well at the 12th Annual Fall Run Away meet
Michael Hans from Oconee County HS and Sue Anne Moralis of East Jackson were named the 3A 'Runners of the Week' after great races this past weekend. Moralis is just a freshman....
Week 2 Ending 8-30 ROWs were both very deserving of this honor and happened at Saucony Battle of Atlanta. North Oconee's Tyler Jones was the overall Boys winner in 16:11 and Eagles Landing star Betty Jackson took 8th place in 20:32.
5A ROWs for week ending 8-30 (as well as 1A-4A) got delayed a bit by food poisoning, but they are coming...Dunwoody's Ansley Heavern and Allatoona's Colton Page were selected this week after their performances at Berry and Saucony Battle of Atlanta.
The 6A Week Ending 8-30 'Runners of the Week' both came from the Berry Clara Bowl Invitational including Ashley Kehoe of Pope and Sam Costa of Mill Creek.
The All-Class ROW's for Week Ending 8-30 came from 2 Northeast Ga runners at meets that the courses couldn't be more different. Jenna Gearing from White County toiled on the War Eagle course at Chestatee and North Hall's Quintin Miles won the Boys overall at Berry Clara Bowl.
As the summer temperatures rise and the training sessions intensify, the University of Georgia women's cross country team pushes through tough days with one thing in mind: NCAA Championships in November. (via www.georgiadogs.com)
Marist School looks forward to hosting twenty-seven schools this coming Saturday for the 17th annual Double Dip Invitational. The course will be tough, the competition fierce, the awards top notch, and early forecasts suggest the weather will be typical for an early season meet in Georgia. Construction on campus has wrapped up for the school year, which should make parking on campus easier than last year. Still, plan to arrive early, and consider carpooling or other alternatives provided on the meet page. Meet day shirts and a full line of concessions will be available to runners and fans. Admission is free. Follow @MaristDistance on Twitter for live updates on race day.
1A Private lost 3 schools with quality programs to 2A (Pace, Holy Innocents and Darlington) But this Landmark Christian Girls team has a chance to be epic if they stay healthy. A 2nd place finish at Saucony Battle of Atlanta makes them an ez #1 squad for Week 2. Hebron Christian has a solid Girls team at #2, but their Boys emerged as the top team in 1A Private after an 8th place finish behind some tough 4A-6A Boys squads.
2A is another class with opportunity knocking at the door for teams that are willing to work hard and smart. Especially with Westminster back in 3A again joined by Jefferson. In Week 2 Pace Academy has emerged as the top ranked Boys squad after besting Wesleyan on their tough home course. LOvett's Girls could be on a mission this Fall and their 3rd place showing at Berry propels the Lions to #1.
The landscape of 3A has been drastically altered by the new alignment and its opened some doors for many teams to perhaps make the Podium for the first time in recent school history. Currently East Jackson's Boys are in control with a talented top 4. With Westminster's Girls having not competed in an invitational thus far, Blessed Trinity's Girls are in a different solar system than all other 3A squads.
4A is going to be scrutinized every week (especially the Boys) as fast squads will fill the top 6-7 positions every week. St.Pius' Boys are definitely deserving of the top spot after winning the Stage Races and besting North Hall at Berry. How can one not rank Marist's Girls #1 after sitting their top 4, winning anyway at NEGA. Heritage Catoosa and St.Pius are both strong early as expected.
All-Class Rankings are perhaps the most difficult to gauge every Fall as many schools may only go head to head once or twice with Nike-Fleet Feet the final realistic indicator as most top squads use Last Chance as a tempo run and let all their JVs get a taste of the State course. 6A schools rule the roost this week with Marietta's boys strong at Saucony Battle of Atlanta and West Forsyth's Girls having a great run at the Stage Races.
It didn't take very long for Clarkston's Angoras to get some love as they have rocketed to the top Boys spot after winning at Bob Blastow by 12 points over 2nd ranked Forsyth Central. Dunwoody's Girls placed 2nd at Berry finishing ahead of many 6A squads earning #1 in 5A Girls.
In the first edition of the GHSA Class Team Rankings (we have always let at least 2 full weekends of racing before ranking) Marietta's Boys should come as no surprise on top after blowing away even 4A North Oconee by nearly 80 points. West Forsyth's girls may be a bit of a surprise as #1 after their winning performance at the Stage Races.
The 13th Annual Fall Run Away MS meet added a 'Varsity Top 8' race this season and it showcased the host school's top rated 3A boys squad and the ACS Girls. Club team Great Strides dominated the MS Boys race and made it a sweep as their Girls topped ACS.
Chestatee hosted 13 schools on a nice day in Gainesville. White County's Girls bested Winder-Barrow by 7 points taking the team win as Jenna Gearing broke the Chestatee course record by :59 with her 18:49. Winder-Barrow easily won the boys side scoring 53 points. Johnson's Garardo Suarez (17:00) and White County's Austin Thompson (17:03) put on a good show for 1st and 2nd.
Marietta has become one of the top HS Cross Country programs in Georgia and the Blue Devils proved their top 6A 'Pre-Season' Rankings sweeping the varsity team titles Saturday at Nash Farm Battlefield. It was a great day of racing including Landmark Christian's Kathryn Foreman once again running 'on her own island' dominating the Varsity Girls race and North OC's Tyler Jones coming into his own taking the Varsity Boys overall win. MD Claude Spinks starts a horde of anxious MS Boys at beautiful Nash Farm Battlefield
The Berry Invitational had some interesting twists and turns to it today. A wrong turn in the HS Girls race shortened the course by approximately 300 meters, but otherwise things went smooth. Times seemed slower than normal, but it's hard to say for sure. The large start was not an issue at all and it never seemed crowded. The St.Pius Boys won their 2nd invite in a row besting a strong Auburn team and North Hall. Quintin Miles of NH (pictured) took the overall win in 16:18. Harrison's Girls were too fast for the field taking the team title. Ashley Kehoe of Pope was top individual in 17:58.
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.
Woodward has been a Podium contender in recent years making it in 2012 at 4th, and in 2011/2013 just missing the party back in 5th. But circumstances are in their favor to make it again this Fall. Will the momentum of winning the 3A Track title spur the Cardinals efforts this season and allow them to leapfrog Heritage-Catoosa and maybe St.Pius?
The St.Pius Girls have been a power in AAA in recent years winning the title back in 2012 and placing runnerup to a tough Blessed Trinity squad last Fall. They should fare well in 4A this season and will be chasing Marist like their former 3A rivals who have moved up in Class.
Marist's Girls have been dominant in 4A in recent years and this Fall should continue their reign. With several strong 3A teams joining the fray they will have some good competition. But after scoring 22 points at State last Fall and returning 6 of your top 7 of which 4 are among the top 7 fastest returners odds are good they will repeat.
It may seem like an abberation that Marist begins the season ranked 5th. There is actually a team (Whitewater) that rated a little better than them, but in good conscience, I couldn't rank them ahead of Marist....Because the 4A defending champs 'Improvement Rating' punished them so severely. Its hard to improve when your 2nd, 1st and 1st the past 3 seasons isn't it? Don't sleep on the War Eagles, because they get so many out for Cross Country in the Fall there's bound to be talent that can be honed....
North Oconee has been somewhat of an enigma the past 3 seasons, up and down.. But, currently this talented group seems to be healthy, including 3A 800m champ Harper Sigler which could boost the Titans make a run at a 4A State title this Fall. Some excellent incoming talent from Malcom Bridge MS has began to bloom as well, and having 'Hall of Fame' coach Brady Sigler helping out has been a plus...
The Golden Lions of St.Pius X have roaring the past 4 seasons to consecutive 3A State titles. Some of the credit must go to young gun Coach Ryan McClay who brought a new zeal to their program, and having Austin Sprague to boot was a blessing. Though losing 4 seniors to their top 7 don't feel sorry for St.Pius X as I expect them to be very strong come November.