The boys’ AAAAA podium club may be one of the most exclusive fraternities in all of sport. In the eleven years since the inception of AAAAA, the 44 available podium spots have only been occupied by nine schools, two of whom are no longer in AAAAA. (In that same time period thirty different franchises have been in either the World Series or the Super Bowl.) If you want to make a run at the team title the next year, getting into the previous year’s podium club is important. Of the eleven AAAAA team champions so far, seven have come from the previous year’s podium club, and Brookwood is an excellent bet to make it eight out of twelve this year.
Although another school occasionally snuck in to the podium club for a brief appearance, Brookwood, Collins Hill, Parkview and Walton often claimed three of the four if not all four podium spots each year between 2000 to 2007. That changed in 2008 when Peachtree Ridge kicked in the door, displaced Collins Hill, claimed the championship, and settled in as a long-term club member. The next year, Collins Hill forced their way back in and kicked Walton out. In 2011, Walton is applying for readmission, and I don’t think they will take “no” for an answer. It looks like there may be a second opening (in addition to Walton’s) this year, however. Who will take it? Will it be Mill Creek, who has been knocking on the door for several years but has never been “allowed in”? Will it be Norcross, who might become the preseason favorite in 2012 and wants to join the club a year early? Will Milton become the first team in a decade outside of Gwinnett and Cobb to join the club? Will Marietta make their first appearance on the podium? Will Collins Hill or Parkview have their best race of the season and, against the odds, retain their membership? Is Peachtree Ridge a sure thing, or might there be three openings this year for club membership this year?
3) Mill Creek