2009 Class A Preview:
Athens Christian looks to be the favorite as they return defending State Champion Colin Bishoff and have added the Jenkins brothers, Josiah and Joshua, to cement their status as contenders. With sophomore Will Hayes poised to break into the 16’s the Eagles have the potential to put as many as four in the top 10. Wesleyan return with out a true front runner evident but challenges with a stable of strong runners, led by Brandon Ramsey and Chris Duvall, that might all break 18:00 at Carrollton. Mt Paran has risen to the top of Class A with the dynamic duo of Darryn Hutchinson and Jeff Pearson and strong support from Taylor Hall and Jake Anderson, Should their 5th step up Saturday they could spring an upset. Just behind those three is a logjam of capable teams who fortunes rest on one or two great performances coupled with solid days from their whole team. That group includes Providence Christian, Pace Academy, Galloway, Darlington and Eagle’s Landing Christian. Defending Champ Our Lady of Mercy looks to join that crew along with Schley County, Bremen and Athens Academy. Individually last year’s runner-up Luke Baker looks to rewrite history as he guns for the best performance ever in Class A (15:51 by Mike Randall of Headland at the old Atlanta Water Works course) Luke has consistently been a top performer all-class this season posting a personal best of 15:12 and has regularly been in the mid 15’s. Colin Bishoff will look to defend his title but will have to contend with Galloway’s Jake Grant and a pair of new teammates for a spot in the top 5! Jack Harris of Pace, Dacosta Smith of ELCA, Jesse Baker of Darlington, and Nathan Norton of Schley Co, will join the team leaders listed above in search of a spot on the podium Saturday afternoon.
Defending champion Our Lady of Mercy, led by the one-two punch of Megan Malasarte (2nd in 2008) and Andrea Raville(5th), looks to have the best 5 but will have a battle on their hands as Class A has become very deep and competitive the last two years. Hoping to slip past the Bobcats are several teams who have been right with them on occasion this season. Holy Innocents’, running in an tight pack and fresh off an impressive victory at Last Chance, joins perennial powers Landmark Christian, with front runners Lindy Long and Lana Hojeij, and Pace Academy, and its even tighter pack, in pursuit of OLM and that is just the contingent from region 5-A! Wesleyan, Darlington, Athens Christian, Savannah Country Day and Athens Academy look for that surprise effort that could catapult them onto the podium. Providence and Mt Paran all look to join that crowd and earn top 10 finishes. Individually, newcomer Destiny Jenkins of ACS appears to be the favorite but should get a spirited challenge from Long and Wesleyan’s Ericka Ramsey, last year’s champion, along with Raville and Malasarte and Ashley McDurmon of Darlington and individual qualifiers Lindsey Sanborn of AIS and Anna Gabianelli of Galloway.