'GHSA Boys AAAA State Preview' 'contributions by Claude Spinks'
Cross country is a true team sport. Having one, two or even three front runners is important but so often championship races are won by the 4,5 runners. This could be the case here as Marist is the clear favorite as their team depth is legendary. But Lagrange could make it very interesting....The Grangers are looking to improve on 2012's 4th place Podium finish and push the War Eagles in quest of their best finish in recent history. A slip or fall and the tide could turn at the top of the podium. Just like their girls, the Pickens County boys look be a lock for a Podium spot if they run as well as they did at 7-AAAA. That leaves a number of teams fighting for that Final treasured fourth team spot. Perry, Chestatee, Alexander, Wayne County (who may a chip on their shoulder) and Veterans should all factor in the battle for glory and props.
Its going to be quite interesting to watch what frontrunners emerge beginning with loop 2 in this race.Of the top 5 contenders for the individual title, only Hakeem Mustafaa of Shaw has raced at Carrollton (Ortho) this season posting a 16:33 nearly 2 months ago in hotter temps. Its a given, Michael Thurston of Marist is the pre-race favorite having went to the brink with Austin Sprague at Coach Wood. Daniel Navarro of Marist has ran very well lately, but Thurston seems to have better foot speed down the stretch. For them, a Marist team win is probably more important. Andrew Coggins and Sam Bowie of Lagrange ran well at Coach Wood in the Varsity race several hours later (hotter) than Marist did. Frosh Sean Parker of Pickens County also hasn't raced at the state course this season but did drill a 16:24 at Great American. Jackson Reid from Perry, Michael Rowlands of Veterans and Frank Pittman of Marist will try to stay in contact.