Buford Invitational Preview

                  7th Annual Buford Invitational
Buford will be hosting the 7th annual Buford Invitational on Wednesday.  This meet has grown from a small duel meet with Buford and East Hall the first to a good size mid-week race with high ranking teams.  This year's invitational will include squads from host Buford, White County, Lovett, Dawson, Centennial, Kings Ridge, Lanier, Mount Pisgah, St. Francis, Morrow High School, and South Forsyth.  
Weather looks to be very nice considering some of the past meets have been warm.  With temps in the low 70s it should help the runners get lower times on what is a pretty challenging course.  The main draw for this meet is the times at Buford mirror state meet times.  The course features several rolling hills like Carrollton so it is hard for the runners to get in a good rhythm.
Girls Preview
The team competition is going to be a good one.  There are 4 teams in the field that come in with rankings in their classifications.  From last week's rankings: Centennial #6 in 6A, Lovett #3 in AA, White #4 in AAA, and Buford #7 in AAA.  Looks like the pack will be chasing Centennial girls but the other teams will be tight on their heels.  Both Lovett and Centennial put down some smoking fast averages in their last meet below the gnat line at Westover.  Both White and Buford battled last week at the Mountain Invitational coming away with 3rd and 5th places overall.  The top 3 places for team trophies look to be very tight so it will be interesting to see what form everyone is in within the last month of the season.  Individually the pack will be moving with some of the best talent across several classifications.  The lead pack looks to be made up of Hailey Branch from Lovett, Maddy Peterson from Centennial, Jenna Gearing from White County, Bailey Roberts from Buford after a good finish at Unicoi.  However, there are a host of girls that will be in the top pack that could strike if the mood hits them.  
Boys Preview
Like the girls the boys race is filled with several top caliber runners and teams.  Using last week's rankings Lovett comes in with #4 ranking in AA, Buford #9 in AAA, and White County and Dawson County on the watch list in AAA.  However, even though Centennial isn't ranked their tight pack looks to have a slight edge of the chasers of Buford, Lovett, Dawson, and White.  There are several teams who have been dropping their times and getting a close scoring 5 and that could make the difference in the end.  Lovett and Centennial look good with really fast times from the Westover meet, while Buford, Dawson, and White were very close in team scoring at the Mountain Invitational.  Individually it looks like a nice lead group made up of 4 sub 17 minute guys.  Shane Sullivan from Mount Pisgah, Dylan Forester from Dawson, Austin Thompson from White, and Josh Thompson from Buford are all separated by less than 5 seconds. Individual title could come down to the last 400 yards.  

Drew Eager
Buford High School