Area 3 Private- Region 5-A XC Championship Preview

Brrrrr, it was frigid last Fall, with 25-30 mph gusting winds . (photo by Daniel McCauley)

At last year's Region Championship, the weather was insane, as the wind chill was close to 15 degrees, and the gusting winds wreaked havoc on many team tents. The finish line posts were nearly dislodged as the banner above billowed like a sail on an America's Cup yacht. This Saturday, conditions are forecast to be much less harsh on the beautiful Heritage Christian course.

Austin Taylor of Landmark Christian (file photo by Daniel McCauley)

Boys- #1 ranked Landmark has slowly improved throughout the season and is a veritable shoe-in to win the Region and State titles. There really is a gap between the top 4 Boys squads and the remainder of the field, though Mount Vernon Presbyterian & AIS could sneak up to 4th if they run well. Paideia is currently ranked 6th in the state - it has been an up and down Fall for them - but the Pythons, with a healthy top 3 and solid outings by their 4-5 guys, should be 2nd...leaving it to OLM and Galloway to settle the top 4 headed to State.

Paideia's fearsome threesome (L-R) McCauley, Campbell and Heaberlin (file photo by Daniel McCauley)

Individually, it's going to be Landmark Christian and Paideia for the top 10 All-Region squad honors. Sophomore Griffin McCauley of Paideia has posted the fastest time this season with a PR of 15:59. Look for Landmark's duo of Austin Taylor and this past week's A Private ROW Seth Cruver to duke it out with Paideia's "Mad" Max Heaberlin and Nasir Campbell who both possess nasty closing footspeed. Luke Murray from Galloway and Hugo Levisse of AIS could challenge for a top 6 Individual Q' spot.

Landmark Christian's Gals are back....(file photo by Daniel McCauley)

Girls- Landmark Christian has suffered through nagging injuries to a few of their runners this season, but Last Chance indicated that the Eagles may be reaching top form for State, which is not good news for #1 ranked Hebron Christian. No one else in 5-A can keep up with Bill Thorn's ladies, but it's gonna' be an outright horse race for the next 3 Q' Team tickets to Carrollton.

2nd tier 1A ranked squads include #5 Galloway, #6 Our Lady of Mercy (greatly improved with Coach Matt Hofkes back in charge), #7 Atlanta International and #9 Paideia. Galloway & Mercy were within a few points of each other at Last Chance. AIS hasn't run in a race that turned in results in weeks. Also, Paideia's best race may have been at Asics, with Sophia West going 18:36, but they only started four girls, so they, too, are on the bubble. All other 5-A schools will be running for team pride.

Helen Williams from A Private State Meet in 2015 (file photo by Daniel McCauley)

The Individual race could be very interesting indeed... Helen Williams of AIS appears to be back in form and has good footspeed. In addition, Landmark's 3-headed monster of Kathryn & Sarah Foreman and Nicole Fegans will likely be joined by Sophia West of Paideia, who has raced very consistently this season, and Pauline Cobb from Mercy, to be in a pack way ahead of the next group. These girls should make the top 6 Individuals who auto Q' for State.

*Ga MileSplit will be onsite for this meet*