Battle of Atlanta 2012 with contributions via Coach Claude Spinks
The Battle of Atlanta has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception back in 2008 when gatfxc.com made the trek from Oconee County to cover the event and take images. Now, this great meet attracts many of the top programs in the State as the competition is fierce, the course has matured and changed into one of the premier layouts available. Also, much of the race is visible from the top of the hill for spectators and runners alike making this a special place not to mention the history of a major Civil War battle on Sherman's march through Georgia. If there is ever going to be a venue that is a true Cross Country course to replace Carrollton, Nash Farms Battlefield is on the top of the list. No street crossings, excellent spectatator viewing, huge parking area (as Major Civil War reinactments are hosted bringing in thousands of spectators/history enthusiasts with nice hotels and restaurants a few minutes including being more centrally located for everyone in Georgia.
8 years ago Henry County purchased the piece of land known as Nash Farms just before it was turned into a subdivision. Shortly after the purchase, several local cross country coaches walked the property and saw the possibilities. This is the 4th year of the Battle of Atlanta. Previous winners of this race include Wade Voyles, Zack Sims and Anna Bowles. The course has the reputation of being a "true" cross country course. It is rolling hills with a long 1000k climb from the lowest part of the course to the highest part. Many people feel that Nash is the most spectator friendly course in the state and it is the site of the Georgia State Invitational, Golden Eagle Invitational and will also be host of the NCAA Division 3 Southern Regional meet.
At this time over 37 teams and 1500 athletes are registered to take on this course Saturday morning beginning at 8am. Upon running a 'Virtual Meet' on MileSplit Ga, it is going to be a fantastic day of racing to remember. Looking at the Boys team competition, a titanic quest for the title should be fought between Marist, McIntosh, Wheeler, St.Pius X, Woodward Academy, Lakeside-Evans, Harrison and Union Grove. Top Individual Boys to watch will include many tandems of top harriers representing their schools including the St.Pius X duo of Austin Sprague and Calvin Tirrell, the Mcintosh duo of Brad Hort and former Minnesota native Sydney Speir, the Marist duo of Michael Thurston and Daniel Navarro, Wheeler's Ryan Peck and Adel Yoonis and Lakeside-Evans Chase Fowers and Christian Bowles! Drew Sands of Woodward, Brandon Cromer of Union Grove and Joey Carr of Mount Paran should also be in that lead pack.
Marist's Girls are the faves to take the team title if running at full strength. But other teams to keep an eye on from that 'hilltop' will befellow Catholic schools including top ranked 3A squads friendly rivals Blessed Trinity and St.Pius X. Lakeside-Evans and McIntosh will duel for 5A supremacy and Harrison should give everyone a run for their money. The race for the Individual title should prove to be exciting as many of the contender have similar avg. best times. Morgan Ilse of Marist is coming off a decisive win on her home course at Double Dip and has to be considered a pre-race pick along with Sarah Bowles of Lakeside-Evans, Melanie Hamilt of McIntosh, Mackenzie Nail of Whitewater and Anna Gandolfo of Blessed Trinity.
There also will be a Mixed Middle School race following the 4 HS races. And upon tradition, there always will be a victor determined in the Varsity races between the 'South' and the 'North' !
Fulton County Championships by Coach Andy Carr-Atlanta Track Club
For the first time since at least 2000, the Fulton County Public Schools Cross Country Championships will be held at a Fulton County public school facility. Milton High School will host this annual championship meet this Saturday on one of the toughest courses in the state with pride and bragging rights going to the Overall team winner! The JV races start the meet at 8am & 8:45am followed by the varsity races at 9:30 & 10:15am.
Varsity Boys Meet Preview
The Raiders of Riverwood come to Milton as the 2-time defending champions but have a tough road to climb to achieve the three-peat. Host Milton (ranked 5th in AAAAAA & 6th All-Class) looks to be the overwhelming favorite. The battle for the runner-up spot could be a tight one with Roswell, John’s Creek, Centennial and Riverwood all in the mix but with none of the teams ranked the 2nd spot is clearly wide-open. Individually, based on the entries, Nate Riech of Milton, who has run 17:47 on this course (4th-fastest time ever) is the one to watch. Riech’s teammate Miles Dayoub (18:18 on this course, 16:15 PR) will also be near the front. Top entrants from visiting schools look to be Ryan Shea of Alpharetta, Kai Skop of Chattahoochee and Conner McDaniel of Riverwood. Others to watch are Erik Olsen of Johns Creek and Carter Percy of Centennial. The course record, set last year is 17:30 by Sid Vaughn of Lakeside-Evans.
Varsity Girls Meet Preview
The Lady Eagles of Milton (ranked 2nd in AAAAAA & 3rd All-Class) are the two-time defending champs and also look to be the prohibitive favorite. The Roswell Lady Hornets (ranked 5th in AAAAAA & 6th All-Class) will challenge Milton but have been well behind the Lady Eagles the previous two meets in the last two weeks (34 points at WarPath and 33 points at Covered Bridge). The battle for third could be a close one with the Lady Gladiators of John’s Creek and Centennial (ranked 9th in AAAAAA) along with Riverwood are all trying to make a statement. For upfront honors the battle maybe a good one with the undefeated Annie Kelly of Milton dueling it out with Peyton Thomas of Roswell along with Allie Buchalski of John’s Creek and Rachel Thorne of Alpharetta. Maddie Butzer of Milton will also be a factor in the top-5. For Kelly this will be her final run on her home course (her course PR is 20:35) and Bulshalski has raced Milton’s tough course two times before and has run sub-21 on both efforts. The course record is a stellar 19:52 set in 2009 by Riverwood’s Brett McDaniel.
Overall Program Award
The Fulton County Public Schools Cross Country Championships awards a Best Overall Program trophy to the school that places best in all four races held. 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. The recent best program winners are Northview-2007, Centennial-2009, Milton-2008, 2010 & 2011. The meet was held previously at Webb Bridge Park in Alpharetta.