Fulton County Cross County Championship Preview
Girls Team Preview
An exciting team battle maybe shaping up based on recent race results but the overwhelming favorite are the Lady Titans of Northview. Since the start of the 2014 season Northview has been ranked #1 in Class 6A and has run well at Stage Races, won the Covered Bridge Invite and placed a close 2nd at Carrollton to Winter Park of Florida. The Lady Titans are the defending champions but may get a run from host Milton. The Lady Eagles (#5-Class 6A) are coming off an inspired 6th place at the Knights Crossing Invite in Virginia that was preceded by runner-up finishes at BOTH Pickens Preview & Covered Bridge. The latter was by only 29 points to Northview. With Milton being on their home course, that could be the great equalizer for the two teams. Waiting in the wings for the final team trophy spot are Centennial, Roswell, Alpharetta, Cambridge & Riverwood as those teams either have strong #1 & #2 runners and/or strong and tight packs that could make the racing intense in the mid-pack of the race.
Girls Individual Preview
Can anyone really stop Lindsey Billings? The junior from Northview is having a banner season with fast times and significant meet victories already to her credit. Billings won Stage Races and then came back to place a close 2nd at Covered Bridge (18:07) and then won the Carrollton Ortho meet (18:32) on the state meet course. Billings is also the defending race champion and has her sights on a possible run at the course record (19:42-Allie Buchalski, Johns Creek, 2012) and already owns the 7th-fastest time on the course (20:30). The duo of Anna Hayden & Elizabeth Graves, both of Riverwood will figure in the top-3 along with Roswell junior Rachel VanAmburgh & Milton senior Amy Ruiz.
Boys Team Preview
After two big meet wins and a very strong 3rd this past weekend, the host Milton Eagles (#5-Class 6A, #8-All-Class) look to regain the title after a narrow loss to the Roswell Hornets in 2013. Milton has meet wins this season at Pickens Preview & Covered Bridge & were 3rd at the Knights Crossing Invite in Virginia running a 16:43 team top-5 average this past weekend. The Hornets of Roswell look clearly to be the only challengers along with a much improved Cambridge squad that will be in the hunt for their first ever boys team trophy
Boys Individual Preview
With the loss to graduation of last year’s top-3 finishers, the battle for the top-spot is wide-open and has seven runners from four different teams with a legitimate shot for the meet win. After his personal best effort at WarPath this past weekend, Cambridge senior Bjorn Leicher comes in with the meets fastest seed time (16:29) and knows the course well having raced it four times previously (18:20 course best). Senior Brandon Tardif of Roswell will also be upfront as he finished only six-seconds behind Leicher at WarPath. Waiting in the wings and a definite challenger for the crown & course record (17:30) is junior Jack Bluth of Milton. Bluth has run 17:41 on the Milton course (Milton time trial) which is the 4th-fastest ever performance. Milton senior Connor Cole (16:39) was just 4 seconds from Bluth at Knights Crossing last weekend and will contend along with top-returner Milton junior Clay Marshall (18:10 course best) & Milton freshman Sam Bowers. Also look for Johns Creek senior Michael Francesconi to be in the mix as his recent race times look strong.
Best Overall Program Award
Unique to this meet, the Best Overall Program Award is awarded to the school that finishes well in not just the varsity races but also in the JV races as well. Based on the schools finishing place in both Junior Varsity and varsity races, each school is awarded points and the point’s winner of the combined four races is awarded the Best Overall Program award. Since 2004 the best overall program winners have been Northview-2006-2007, Centennial-2009, Milton-2004-2005, 2008, 2010-2013.
The meet will feature teams invited from:
Alpharetta, Banneker, Cambridge, Centennial, Chattahoochee, Creekside, John's Creek, Langston-Hughes, Milton, North Springs, Northview, Riverwood, Roswell, Tri-Cities, Westlake