GHSA Boys AAAAAA State Preview

                                           'AAAAAA State Preview'   by Coach Gower

2013 is a year of parity for the largest classification in Georgia Cross Country. Both in team and individual races, there are no clear favorites in the way that has become the custom in recent years. 

Boys Team Race:


2012 State Results

2013 Rankings after Coach Wood

2013 Rankings after Region

1. Mill Creek – 87

2. Marietta – 102

3. Brookwood – 124

4. Norcross – 129

5. Peachtree Ridge – 143

6. Milton – 164

7. Walton – 182

8. Wheeler – 197

9. Collins Hill – 225

10. North Cobb - 304

1. Harrison

2. Brookwood

3. Marietta

4. Peachtree Ridge

5. Parkview

6. Mill Creek

7. Walton

8. Collins Hill

9. Etowah

10. South Forsyth

1. Marietta

2. Harrison

3. Mill Creek

4. Peachtree Ridge

5. Parkview

6. Brookwood

7. Walton

8. Etowah

9. South Forsyth

10. Milton

Do you see a pattern here? I don’t.

Here is what we do know. Harrison, Marietta, Brookwood, and Parkview are very similar in that they have very tightly bunched packs. Often this season, these schools can have their top 5 scorers finish within 30 seconds of each other. This makes each of these teams a true danger to anyone and some of the favorites to reach the podium. The Hoyas showed they could do it on a strength course against a big field in their victory at Coach Wood. The Blue Devils then proceeded to out Harrison, Harrison at region. Brookwood had a spread of less than 10 seconds at the Covered Bridge Run and they are always a threat as they will fight to keep their podium streak alive. Parkview then knocked off the rival Broncos at region. Peachtree Ridge, Mill Creek and Walton have a big gun or two (Mills, Farmer, Westog, Woodrome) and then need to rely on their pack staying as close as possible. In a deep field with evenly matched teams, having that one or two low scorer out there does help, but a relatively weak performance from a #4 or #5 runner will destroy a team’s chances. Peachtree Ridge has had major victories throughout the season (Gwinnett County, Bale ‘n Trail, Asics) but has faltered at times (5th at Coach Wood). Mill Creek has fought injuries and a large target as defending state champs, but won at Region 7 over Peachtree Ridge with a much healthier line-up. Walton ran their best race of the year at Region 5, are they a dark horse for the podium. Etowah, Collins Hill, South Forsyth, Roswell have all spent time ranked in the top 10 this season. West Forsyth, Kennesaw Mountain, and North Cobb have been knocking at the door. In the end, top 10 at state will be quite an accomplishment. A podium spot will be a hard fought, team effort. The team that finishes on top will have beaten possibly the deepest field in state history.

Boys Individual Race:


2012 Top Returning Finishers at State

2013 Top Performers (fastest times listed, but based on average times this season)

1. Tyler Woodrome, Mill Creek (6th)

2. Ryan Peck, Wheeler (11th)

3. Eric Westog, Mill Creek (12th)

4. Kenan Farmer, Walton (13th)

5. Josh Ingalls, Brookwood (15th)

6. Kevin Mills – Peachtree Ridge (17th)

7. Nick Schofer – Parkview (18th)

8. Bryan Kamau – Shiloh (20th)

9. Daniel Ellis – Collins Hill (21st)

10. Ryan Massey – Brookwood (24th)

1. Kevin Mills, Peachtree Ridge – 14:58 (Berry Champ, Gwinnett County Champ, Bale N Trail Champ, Asics Champ, Region 7 Champ)

2. Kenan Farmer, Walton – 15:26 (UGA Champ, Cobb County Champ, Region 5 Champ, 2013 3200m State Champ)

3. Alex Dunlap, Kennesaw Mountain – 15:42 (Coach Wood Champ, Region 4 Champ)

4. Tyler Woodrome, Mill Creek – 15:30 (Gunderson Champ, 2013 1600m State Champ)

5. Eric Westog, Mill Creek – 15:57

6. Daniel Ellis, Collins Hill – 15:50

7. Josh Ingalis, Brookwood – 15:53

8. Isaac Penman, Peachtree Ridge – 15:28

9. Nick Schofer, Parkview – 15:52

10. Jack Henderson, Marietta – 16:02

After the graduation of Josh Brickell of Peachtree Ridge, it was expected that the race would be more wide open. Based on the way last season ended and track ran, Kenan Farmer of Walton and Tyler Woodrome of Mill Creek were the heir apparent. However, Josh’s Peachtree Ridge teammate Kevin Mills came out and started where his teammate left off. With some major victories this year and some of the fastest times this season, Kevin would be the favorite. Then at Coach Wood, Alex Dunlap of Kennesaw Mountain showed 6A that he was capable of being the best in the large class with a victory over Mills and the rest of the 6A runners (3rd overall). Two weeks before that, Alex was bested by Walton’s Kenan Farmer at the Cobb County Championships. So, does this mean we have 3 favorites? Then you have the boys from Mill Creek. Tyler Woodrome has run well all season, but was hampered by some injury issues earlier in October. His run at region 7 shows he is on the mend. Eric Westog proved to be on his game with his best race of the year at region 7 for 2nd behind Mills. He has a strong state meet history, is this his year? We know this, the race for the top 10 will be tough and full of surprises. Daniel Ellis of Collins Hill, Nick Schofer of Parkview, any of a group of runners from Harrison, Marietta, and Brookwood could find their way onto the podium. What about the two studs from Shiloh? Just like in the team race, this one will be anyone’s race. Will someone try to break the field or will it be a wild finish with 10 to 15 runners still close at 2 miles? Either way, expect some fireworks to go off at high noon on Saturday.