23 teams will line it up Saturday morning at Clinton Nature Preserve for the 2015 Atlanta Classic. The mostly single-loop 5,000 meter course will feature 3 hay bale jumps and an exciting 300 meter spectator-friendly finish.
Girl's Team Match-up
Huntsville brings a very strong line-up across the border from north Alabama, headlined by their front-running trio of Abbey Weitenbeck, Abbey Zane and Gillianne Sharpe. And they have a really good #4 and some nice depth at the #5-7 spots. If they're clicking on Saturday, they're the team to beat.
Landmark Christian (ranked #1 in Class A) boasts arguably the best Top 3 line-up in the state with their Foreman/Fegans/Foreman trio. Their place on the podium Saturday will depend largely on whether Kathryn Foreman toes the line. But with or without her, they are a solid team and surely will be in the mix.
Westminster….they've run only at Carrollton (based on posted results), so there should be a ton of season PRs and smiling faces in the finish chute. Crazy depth as always, and it wouldn't be a big shocker if they snatched the top spot. Currently ranked #2 in 3A, but don't be surprised to see them on the All-Class list come early next week.
St. Pius and Union Grove seem to have very similar lineups…ones without superstars, but with solid lineups that produce consistently good performances. Union Grove has garnered a #2 ranking in 5A, while St. Pius is #2 in 4A.
Those are likely your top 5 teams, but others that could make a run at top finishes include North Oconee (ranked 6th in 4A), Woodward (previously ranked as high as 5th in 4A), Bremen (Ranked 5th in AA), and Bishop Kenny from Florida.
Boy's Team Match-up
On paper, this one looks like a 4-Team battle up front between Homewood (AL), Whitewater, Bishop Kenny and North Oconee.
Homewood brings over a stellar line-up with some real firepower up front. They are a real-deal top 5 All-Class team in Alabama, so it's going to be a real challenge to keep the first place trophy from heading west.
Whitewater and North Oconee are currently ranked 3rd and 4th in AAAA, respectively, so we'll see a nice mid-season showcase of how things might shake out in Carrollton in 6 weeks. Whitewater would seem to have the best line-up for a shot at the team title.
As on the girl's side, the Bishop Kenny (Florida) boys seem to be the wild card, as it's tough for us up here to handicap the Florida courses. Plus they'll get 60-degree temperatures versus 70+. They have a long-standing tradition of producing stellar teams, so no surprise if they come up big.
Westminster has raced at the notoriously slow Koch Classic and Carrollton venues. One has to think that it's a good thing they didn't race at Fulton County (Milton) or their entire squad would have defected, having been subjected to the Molasses Trifecta. Like the girls, plenty of depth so they could find themselves in the mix for a top 4 spot.
Top 10 Girls Seeds
** the Top 10 Girls and Boys seeds will wear bib numbers 1-10 on Saturday
#1 -- Nicole Fegans (Junior, Landmark Christian) 3rd here last year (in a very strong 18:37) she'll be looking to continue a very impressive 2015 campaign. Last week she broke the 20 minute mark on the crazy slow Milton course, and has also posted impressive wins at Carrollton, Panther Invite, and Battle of Atlanta. Oh yeah….last April she ran 10:41 for the 9th fastest 3,200 time in Georgia history.
#2 -- Abbey Weitenbeck (Freshman, Huntsville) Let's start with the fact that she ran 4:59 in early May as an 8th grader, and has two individual state championship trophies already in the case (XC and 1,600) before becoming a freshman. Solid results thus far this fall.
#3 -- Kathryn Foreman (Senior, Landmark Christian) A stellar resume which includes -- most prominently -- national Foot Locker finalist. Limited action this fall, but clearly she has the pedigree to be up front.
#4 -- Sarah Foreman (Sophomore, Landmark Christian) Part of Landmark's 3-headed monster….three nice top-3 finishes already in the books since late August.
#5 -- Abbey Zane (Junior, Hunstville) Alabama indoor 1,600 state champion, with an indoor best of 5:10. Past results suggest a model of consistency….look for her to be right up front pushing the pace.
#6 -- Gillianne Sharp (Senior, Huntsville) Seems to have climbed to a new plateau entering her senior season, and completes the trifecta on Huntsville's own 3-headed monster. Finished right on the heels of Abbey X 2 on 9/12 at Chickasaw Trails.
#7 -- Grace Gerry (Junior, Bishop Kenny) Just cranks out solid 20 minute efforts, time after time. Some cool Georgia temps might be the recipe for a breakout performance.
#8 -- Delaney Graham (Sophomore, Westminster) Outstanding freshman year last fall, highlighted by a 3rd place finish at state and an impressive 19:42 on the tough Carrollton layout. No official results thus far in 2015, but she is entered so hopefully that means she'll be in the mix.
#9 -- Rachel Jones (Sophomore, Hunstville) Stats since last fall show that her SLOWEST 5k is 20:17. Another strong scorer for a very strong Huntsville squad.
#10 -- Jessica Tardy (Sophomore, St. Pius) Just over a year ago, she was running 5ks in 29 minutes. Then she PR'd by 4 minutes at last year's Atlanta Classic, and there's been no stopping her since. Cracked 20 minutes last weekend at McAlpine.
Top 10 Boys Seeds
#1 -- Hunter Poole (Senior, Homewood) Ran a nice 16:18 at Chickasaw Trails…seems to be on a new level after a junior year that saw 1:59/4:27/9:58 results.
#2 -- Thomas Moore (Senior, North Oconee) Opened strong with a win at NE Georgia, plus posted a solid 16:56 on 9/12 at Carrollton. Has 1:55 speed so look for some flash coming at you from the top of the slope 150 meters out from the finish.
#3 -- Nathan Jubran (Sophomore, Bishop Kenny) Take a glance at stats for his two starts this fall and nothing jumps out, but one gets a sneaky suspicion that those two courses might not have been on the quick side. Going on a hunch here that a high finish could be in order.
#4 -- Andy Smith (Senior, Homewood) The best pedigree among the Top 10, with PRs of 1:56/4:17/9:40. Plus a nice trophy for last spring's Alabama state championship in the 1,600 sitting on his mantle. Solid opener at Chickasaw Trails but hasn't seen much racing this fall. Don't be surprised if he snags the top spot.
#5 -- Thomas Adkins (Senior, Whitewater) Only 2 races under his belt this fall, so he should be relatively fresh. Opened with a nice win at Sandy Creek.
#6 -- Paul Selden (Junior, Homewood) 3 year progression at the Chickasaw Trails meet shows him going from 19:56 to 18:02 to 16:46, with the latter being 13 days ago. You gotta love those trend lines, and you also gotta figure there has been a nice summer of work invested here.
#7 -- Parker Nail (Senior, Whitewater) 19th here last year but look for a big jump up the results board. Has a career filled with consistently solid results, highlighted perhaps by a huge 4:25 1,600 PR at Jefferson last year.
#8 -- Wilson Moore (Junior, Chapel Hill) Just keeps getting better and better; solid summer of training has him poised to post a top finish.
#9 -- Brennan Silliman (Junior, Woodward) Last two starts were at Double Dip and Fulton County: oh, the pain of those two courses. Solid performer with a history of solid results.
#10 -- Cameron Pack (Senior, Morrow) Just a hunch here…has run well at Clinton before and might be ready to sneak into the Top 10.
The 2015 Atlanta Classic, hosted by Chapel Hill High School, kicks off at 7:55 AM on Saturday morning at Clinton Nature Preserve in western Douglas County. The Girl's Championship race begins at 8:45, followed by the Boy's Championship event at 9:10. Full meet details, including a list of attending teams, can be found on our Meet Home Page on the Milesplit calendar.