The inaugural Wingfoot XC Classic was a memorable event for participants and spectators. Persistent rain created messy conditions in Cartersville's Sam Smith Park, but those in attendance embraced the atmosphere and celebrated runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. In fact, some runners were excited to run in the mud and said it made the day even more fun.
This event featured middle and high school invitationals as well as a community race with nearly 500 participants. The start line featured a line of banners, and the 5K course had a special feel with large, painted hay bales as well as colorful fencing and flagging. Between the festive vibe of tent city, the dance party at the awards stage and the raucous cheering sections along the course, Wingfoot XC Classic provided a unique experience in its first year.
This meet was a competition of talent and turnout when it came to the top award. High school teams were scored for both varsity and junior varsity squads, and the lowest cumulative score earned the Wingfoot Cup.
Cheers erupted when the strong, and very excited, Milton Eagles took home the trophy after scoring 248 points. The team stormed the stage to receive the Wingfoot Cup and take their victory photo. Milton will be featured on the November/December cover of Atlanta Track Club's member magazine, Wingfoot, and will enjoy a VIP area at the 2016 event.
Northview pulled out a win for the girls varsity race (67), with Lindsay Billings' hard-fought, one-second lead (18:25) over Fellowship Christian's Emma Grace Hurley (18:26). South Forsyth (119) and Milton (122) rounded out the top three.
It was a three-way battle in the boys varsity race. In the end, Milton came out on top (67), taking the first and third spots with Jack Bluth (16:45) and Sam Bowers (17:01). Marist placed second (70) and Blessed Trinity came in third (95).
Girls Junior Varsity:
Milton's JV girls prevailed with 31 points. Marist's 44 points earned them second and South Forsyth placed third with 71 points.
Boys Junior Varsity:
Milton's JV boys also had a strong, first-place showing with 28 points -- their runners took the top three spots. Marist (36) was second and Blessed Trinity (62) came in third.
Girls Middle School:
The middle school girls were the first student athletes on the course for the day, completing a two-mile loop. Great Strides took the top spot with 49 points, followed by Alpha Crush (58) and Woodland (85).
Boys Middle School:
Great Strides ran away in the boys middle school race with 38 points. Woodland placed second (131) and Cartersville came in third (160).
The community race kicked off the day's events with nearly 500 runners and walkers. Milton High School drew in a big crowd of community members who registered in support of the team, earning the school a special VIP tent complete with food, drinks and a private port-o-john.
Atlanta Track Club Elite was out in full force in this division as they competed in a team time trial for the USATF National Cross Country Championships. The top spots of both the men's and women's races were swept by Atlanta Track Club Elite.
For the men, two team members finished neck-and-neck. Lance Harden leaned in for the win in 16:23.2 just ahead of Andrew McLain's 16:23.3. Matt McDonald rounded out the top three with a time of 16:27.
Bridget Lyons won in a commanding lead for the women with a 18:01 finish. Janel Blancett (18:18) and Lauren Sara (18:19) placed second and third.
For the masters, Thomas Carroll won it for the men in 17:38 while Sonja Friend-Uhl finished first for the ladies in 18:41.
You can find full results of all divisions of the inaugural Wingfoot XC Classic atatlantatrackclub.org.