Erassa and Anyan splitting 4:27 at 1600 Meters
What a race! If you missed this duel between Tyler Anyan (Brookwwod) and Kirubel Erassa (Grayson), I hope many people shot video to upload on youtube or another host for your enjoyment. Erassa and Anyan took the race out early and a great chase pack was left to wage its own battle amongst themselves. Erassa maintained a 5 meter lead thru 6 laps and made a move with 700m left slowly beginning to pull away from Anyan establishing up to a 25 meter margin at the bell lap. The splits were incredible: 1:02 lap 1, 4:27 1600, and lap 7 was 1:05. Anyan then began to drive with 300m of track left causing the crowd to rise in unison and all the 1600 relay squads on the infield to rush towards the flagged off areas to watch the remainder of the race unfold. Anyan steadily closed the gap as Erassa began to tie up just slightly and with the entire stadium in a frenzy, passed Erassa with 30m left and sped to victory in a national leading time of 8:52.83. Erassa trotted across the line clocking a great 8:56.46. In the "other" race on the track it was mayhem as well with Etowah's Alex Merrall taking 3rd in 9:35.79, followed by South Forsyth's Dylan Walker (9:37.46) and Josh Brickell of Peachtree Ridge as he scored 4 huge points for the Lions in 9:38.07
This was a a great race also, with a pack of 8 runners bundled together at the split. At this point, Lakeside Evans' Shane Wilson took the lead and region rival, De'andre Smalley of Westside-Augusta (the defending AAAA XC champ) went with Wilson and drafted him until the bell and swung around him to take the lead. The race changed dramatically within 100 meters as Warren Enrique of Starrs Mill put it in another gear and caught up with Smalley and was within a stride of the lead. As Wilson began to drop off the pace, Carl Eiffert of McIntosh made a move pulling into 3rd and began to close the gap a bit on the leaders. However, as the race reached the final turn heading into the homestrech, Smalley and Enrique were side by side the final 100 meters with De'andre holding his form slightly better leaning hard to win the gold in 9:53.91. Warren clocked a 9:54.04 and Eiffert placed 3rd in 9:58.10.
Ty McCormack had clocked a 9:05 earlier this season at the Coaches Classic and was the man to beat going into the race. But Charlie Sparks of Columbus was healthy and prepared to end his HS career on a winning note after coming up short in previous Ga Olympics. Justin Weaver of Pickens County showed great improvement this season competing in 7_AAA which is loaded with distance talent. McCormack took the lead early and maintained a 5-10 lead through the first 6 laps and began a long drive creating separation from Sparks of up to 100 meters. Spurred on by the crowd after the pa annoncer stated the state record was 9:07, McCormack had a vailant final lap coming up just a bit short in 9:08.66. Sparks motored across the finish line claiming 2nd in 9:28.19, Weaver placed 3rd (9:36.42) and Eagles Landing's Zach Sims hung tough just out of reach of the trio, placing 4th (9:44.69)
To top off a dizzying 1600 meter race that featured Barber of Westminster and Daniel of Thomasville leading the entire race until Edwards of Jordan (defending 3200 champ) ate up the mondo the final 300m only to be out-kicked by North Oconee's Hurt the final few meters, left one pondering the strategy in the 3200. Again, Barber and Daniel played right into Ian Edward's strengths, Edwards layed low playing possum drafting them. Leonel Ayala of Cross Keys started slowly but made a move getting into the mix at the 1600 mark. The first 5 laps were pedestrian as the lead pack split right at 5:00. Then Edwards made a move taking the lead at the beginning of lap 7, cruised around the track and hit another gear at the bell lap (only leading by a few meters) separating from the chase pack, as his high-mileage training along with competing in many 800's this season paid huge dividends, winning by 30 meters in a pr of 9:46.87. A great battle took place after Edwards crossed the line with Daniel hanging tough placing 2nd (9:53.00), Ayala was 3rd (9:54.01) Barber was 4th (9:54.14).
Dylan Baker of ELCA was determined that no one was going to challenge him as he took the lead early in the 3200 and disapeared crossing the line for the gold in 9:33.12. Joshua Jenkins of Athens Christians, saved his best race of the season for the perfect time, as he held on to seize a runnerup medal in 9:51.84. Jake Grant of Galloway started slow, but worked his way into 3rd, even challenging Jenkins briefly crossing the line in 10:03.65.