Region 7-AAAAA Meet Preview
Forsyth Central has been at the top of the rankings for most of the season as they have racked up wins at Warpath, Coach Wood’s Gold race, and Last Chance. The Bulldogs are the obvious team to beat with their tight group of sub 17 guys. On the hunt for an upset is 6th ranked Creekview who has won Carrollton’s Ortho Invite, Creekview’s Moonlight miles, Darlington’s divisional award, and placed behind Central at Coach Wood, but they have not lost to any other 5A team all season. Both teams have run the Boling park course this season with Forsyth Central’s 1st place team average of 16:47 at Warpath just nudging out Creekview’s 16:48 school record team-average ran at their County race a few weeks later. Looking to challenge for a ticket to State will be 11th Ranked Dalton, 13th ranked Cambridge, 14th ranked River Ridge, and unranked Kell who bested the Knights at Warpath. All four teams have had success this season thanks to some strong front runners. Whose top 5 will perform the best on Saturday?
Logan Poteet has been dominant all season (save at Coach Wood where we witnessed that even the State’s elite can have a bad day), and he comes into the Region race the clear favorite. Look for the chase pack to consist of Creekview’s Brennan Garriques, Rome’s Daniel Glick, and River Ridge’s Ahmed Jama, will one of them be able to hang with Poteet? Looking to place in the top 15 and earn one of the 6 individual qualifier spots will be a slew of sub 17 minute guys including Forsyth Central’s Austin Campbell, Max Warner, Charlie Webb, Will Hasse, and Cole Gizelbach; Cambridge’s Bjorn Leicher and KJ Hirschi; Jason Morning from Cass; Dalton’s Adan Rodriquez; Creekview’s Grant Slater, Nick Turano and Zac Cantrell; and River Ridge’s Nathan Trottier. There should be an interesting showdown between Dalton’s Adan Rodriquez and Creekview’s Zac Cantrell who are two of the State’s fastest freshman ranked 7th and 8th respectively.
Creekview comes into the girls’ race a strong favorite with the absence of former region competition Northview and Pope who both moved to AAAAAA this year. The Lady Grizzlies are ranked 4th in State and have placed in the top 3 in every race entered this season with wins at Woodstock’s Battle of the Fairways, Carrollton’s Ortho Invite, Creekview’s Moonlight Miles. They bested #1 ranked Dunwoody at Darlington to place second and finished 2nd at Coach Wood’s Gold race. They will be challenged by 8th ranked Cambridge and 12th ranked Riverwood who both had a competitive race schedules this year and have yet to face off against the Lady Grizzlies. Cambridge may be able to place their whole pack in the top 20 and Riverwood’s 3-5 will need to close the gap with their top 2 to earn a top Region finish. The fight for a top 4 spot is fairly close between Woodland, Kell, and Rome who should each have a runner in the lead pack.
On paper the Individual Region title looks to be between Riverwood standouts Anna Hayden and Elizabeth Graves who both have the fastest Boling Park times and have ran sub 19 a few times this season on other courses. Challenges will likely come from Creekview’s Lauren Wallin and Kell’s Olivia Terwilliger who are both capable of running sub 19. Several schools look capable of placing a runner in a top spot as tough competition is expected from Kell’s Marielle Lewis and Reagan Poteet; Woodland’s Mallory Warren; Cass’s Jana Morning; Creekview’s Rachel Boulineau, Annie Conrad, Ashleigh Meeker, and Dara Staton; Dalton’s Erin Nelson; Forsyth Central’s Bonnie McKinnon; River Ridges’ Kali Kimball and Cambridge’s trio of Chloe Phelps, Chloe Paskins, and Caroline Willis.