Bleckley County Welcomes You to the Georgia MS Cross Country State Meet


          Bleckley County Welcomes You to the Georgia MS Cross Country State Meet    by Shelley Cranford

Bleckley County and the City of Cochran are once again very proud to be hosting the State Middle School Cross Country Championships.  This will be the 8th edition of this event, which started back in 2006 with 10-15 teams and has grown every year since then, with 70+ teams/schools scheduled to participate this Saturday.  The event is held at Bleckley County Elementary School , which is where the Bleckley County cross country course is located.  With school support from Superintendent Charlotte Pipkin, Middle School Principal Trey Belflower, and Elementary School Prinicpal Janet DeLoach, along with the Bleckley County Board of Education, this event has truly turned into one that Bleckley County looks forward to hosting every year.  Cochran is a small town, but we take great pride in people from all over the state travelling to visit us every year for this event.  Also for this year, Cochran is having a CountryFest event downtown that will be going on all day.  Hopefully many of our visitors that come for the race will visit the downtown area before they leave and enjoy the festivities that will be going on downtown.

The State Middle School Meet started in 2006 as an idea that had been swirling around in Coach Shelly Cranford’s head for many years.  One year he finally approached then Superintendent Buster Evans, now the Superintendent of the Forsyth County schools, with the idea, and Dr. Evans readily agreed for Coach Cranford to go ahead with the idea and see who would come and what would be the outcome.  So from 10-15 teams in 2006, the event has grown every year, and we hope this is the best one yet.  The Runnin’ Royals Booster Club and all of its members are so much a part of this event, as are former runners, parents of former runners, and local teachers and community folks who volunteer their time to make this event what it is.
The course has changed drastically from previous years and hopefully to one that the runners will like and the spectators as well.  It is a way more spectator-friendly course that will allow people to see so much more of the race than in years past.  With that comes the responsibility of coaches, runners, and spectators to please be aware of their surroundings and to make sure that they stay off of the course while races are being run.  This event is first and foremost about the runners, and we want to make sure that every runner has a chance to do their best on this day.  There are places that spectators and coaches will not be allowed to be due to the configuration of the course, and we hope that people will respect that and follow the instructions given.  We hope everyone will do their part to make this the best Middle School State Meet ever.