By Andy Carr
On Saturday, September 17, Milton HS is set to host the Fulton County schools Cross Country Championships on their campus course where 18 schools will contest one of the toughest courses in the state. For the 2nd time, both public & private schools will do battle to determine the best program in one of the largest counties in the state.
Girls Teams (listed alphabetically):
Alpharetta-comes into the meet showing a big resurgence in their program. The Raiders (ranked 4th in 6A) are coming off a solid runner-up finish at Covered Bridge and a trophy winning performance at Early Bird and should challenge for a team trophy spot on the tough course in Milton.
Blessed Trinity-has not raced since Berry where they were 5th and are currently ranked 4th in 4A. They will also contend for a team spot on the podium but their over 2-minute spread could be tough to overcome
Cambridge-the Lady Bears bring a young team to the meet and are coming off a 4th at Covered Bridge and are ranked 6th in 6A. Their strength lays with their strong pack that has a very small spread but without up front support they will be challenged.
Johns Creek-The large team is also young but gaining and improving every week. Currently unranked but with a tight group they have a solid chance to get a trophy. Like Cambridge, not having a front runner will be tough to overcome but don't count them out.
Milton-the #1 ranked team in the state All-Class looks to finally win an elusive county title. The Lady Eagles last won in 2012 and hope this year to finally regain it. A very strong win at Double Dip last week and on their home course make them very tough to beat. A late withdrawal by Landmark Christian puts Milton in the driver's seat.
Northview-the 3-time defending champs are not as strong as in the past with the departure of their big-4 seniors but look to perform well and defend their title. The Lady Titans could challenge for a team award if they can get their tight pack to be closer to the front.
Girl Athletes to Watch (listed alphabetically with 2016 best time):
Brooke Aumer-(19:46) Milton senior who is very strong on her home course
Faith Bobak-(19:56) Milton freshman sensation that placed 7th at Marist Double Dip
Sarah Chappell-(19:45) Alpharetta senior that should finish in the top-10
Taylor Cushman-(19:44) Milton sophomore still on the rise & runs well on her home course.
Katie Meyer-(19:46) Centennial senior coming off a solid runner-up finish at the Covered Bridge meet last week.
Abby Rindt-(19:35) Milton freshman that was 8th at Atlanta Classic & 18th at Double Dip.
Marie Repasy-(18:39) Milton senior is the clear favorite and has run the 4th-fastest by a Milton runner on her home course. 5th at Double Dip & 3rd at Atlanta Classic & Early Bird.
Sarika Temme-Bapat-(19:54) Northview junior that has battled many injuries but still impressed with a 3rd at Covered Bridge last week.
Kenedy Thorne-(19:52) Alpharetta senior that will work with her teammate to have some upfront presence, 7th at Covered Bridge last week.
Boys Teams (listed alphabetically):
Alpharetta-currently ranked 4th in 6A and finishing a strong 2nd at Covered Bridge, the Raiders will be in the hunt for a top-4 team award finish. A strong run by their #3-5 runners will put them in position to finish well.
Blessed Trinity-Last year's runner's-up come back with a vengeance. Ranked 6th All-Class, the Titans will need a strong race from their #5 runner in order to challenge for a top-2 spot.
Cambridge-The Bears, who were 3rd in 2015, bring a solid boy's team that will have strong upfront strength. Currently ranked 5th in 6A, the neighbor school will have to bring up their 4th & 5th runners to possibly finish as runner-ups!
Milton-The home Eagles are 3rd All-Class and will be running for their 4th-straight boy's title. With very strong upfront presence and a lot of team depth, Milton looks too tough to beat.
Boy athletes to watch (listed alphabetically with 2016 best times):
Ryan Beitzell-(16:28) Milton's #3 has been strong all season and was 12th at Marist Double Dip.
Sam Bowers-(15:36) the Milton junior is undefeated this season in the last 3 races, Bowers is the 3rd-fastest ever on the course (17:31) and may take a shot at the course record (17:08) as he looks for his first major title.
Robert Chappell-(16:30) the Alpharetta junior is running well as his 4th overall at Covered Bridge last week would attest.
KJ Hirschi-(16:30) Cambridge senior has a family history on this course with a sister & 2 brothers all Milton XC grads. Hirschi will be a threat for a top-5 spot.
Michael Malkowski-(16:08) Milton's strong #2 is the 6th-fastest Milton runner ever on the course and this junior is always a threat late in the race.
Ben McCoy-(16:12) Blessed Trinity is led by this senior coming off a strong 2nd at Berry 2 weeks ago.
Zach Morgan-(16:22) the Cambridge school record holder is having a breakthrough year and will be a contender through the entire race.
The race schedule will be as follows:
JV Girls-9am-next 15 after varsity
JV Boys-9:45am-next 15 after varsity
V Girls-10:15am-top 7
V Boys-10:45am-top 7
Awards 11:15 AM (or as soon as possible)