Class 6A Girls State Meet Preview
(contributions by Bruce Taylor)
6A Girls’ Team Analysis:
In a season where Northview looked to be the ‘team to beat’ on the girls’ side, they all of a sudden looked more human in their loss to South Forsyth at their region meet. Was it an off-day and a wake-up call to Northview? Did South Forsyth just happen to play their cards right? Or, has South Forsyth saved their best for last and truly caught the once favorite. These two look to be the favorites, but we can’t forget about the others; after all, this is State. Let’s not sleep on Milton. They had an 8 second split (yes, 8.) at their region meet. Similar to the guys’ race, we can’t underestimate the strength of a team with 5 good runners that can often overtake a team with 1 or 2 ‘great’ runners. Milton may look to prove that at state. Historically strong girls’ programs Harrison and Collins Hill have enjoyed great seasons this year. Harrison got off to a strong start with winning the Berry (Clara Bowl) Invitational and most recently won their region meet. Collins Hill has found great success recently by narrowly defeating rival Mill Creek at region. Coach Hudson’s girls were once the class of the field – could we see a return to their ‘hey day’? Mill Creek certainly doesn’t hope so and will look to avenge their narrow defeat at state en route to a podium finish in a season where they, too, have steadily improved. Etowah and Walton lost some ground to Milton at region, but both teams have had great overall seasons, are well coached, and must be taken seriously on the biggest stage in Georgia. Marietta, in spite of living in their guys’ shadow, has had a strong season as well. Could they thrive off of their counterparts’ race and use that as motivation to make a podium run? Brookwood and Parkview had a great region duel in spite of both teams being ravaged this season by injuries and other departures. Can these two historic programs continue their new hot trend to the big one? Upstart North Gwinnett has shown strength late this season, and the ‘Ridge Chicks’, while recovering from a tough graduation year last year, are also historic (and the defending champions) and are still a team to consider. Other teams that can’t be overlooked are West Forsyth, Woodstock, Centennial, and Grayson.
6A Girls Individual
Melehan Dupont Billings-Carnahan Bussjager Green Galarza Assinzo
Billings has been unbreakable aside from an early season to loss to another fast philly, Emma Grace Hurley, otherwise she’s been untouchable. She’s possibly as much a favorite as Marietta’s guys’ team. After her, the race for the rest of the podium spots heats up. The South Forsyth duo of Savannah Carnahan and Kaylee DuPont has been great to watch, and they’re surely looking to put themselves into the top 10 to help their teams. With DuPont as a freshman sensation, that’s always dangerous. Avery Bussjager of Walton, the defending state champion, is a household name that is always to be taken seriously, so look for her to mix it up early. Alexandra Melehan of Woodstock has quietly had a great season evidenced by her runner-up finish to Bussjager at her region meet. Cherokee County Champion Kingsley Green of Etowah was one of only six girls in the championship race of Double Dip to break 20:00, so that should bode well for her at the hilly Carrollton course. Mary Jeanne Assinzo of Marietta was the runner-up last year and has enjoyed success this year, too. Liz Galarza from West Forsyth, another sub-20:00 at Double Dip, has had a successful season to this point. Region champion Hannah Pettit of Mill Creek has steadily improved during her first XC campaign and could be dangerous this Saturday. Lauren Flynt of Brookwood also won her region meet, and any girl coached by Coach Carter needs not be overlooked. Other girls looking to put themselves in contention for a top 10 finish at state include Sarika Temme-Bapat of Northview, Sara Scales of Mill Creek, Mattie Rountree of Harrison, Yanely Gomez of Grayson, Melody Weiler of Parkview, and Milicent Bergey of South Forsyth