Everett Smulders of Lovett (photo by Daniel McCauley)
1. East Jackson- East Jackson lost 2014 on a 6th man tiebreaker and last season placed 4th. This could be the breakthu season as their top 6 are back and a strong freshman. Returning to lead are Seniors Chase and Chandler Kennedy who swept the top 2 spots in 2015. A solid supporting cast backs them up including Ethridge Chaisson (16:40), Shane Shelafoe (10:02/3200), Jesse Tovar (17:59), frosh Sobe Strong (4:59/1600) and a much improved Luis Hernandez.
2. Westminster- The Cats are not used to having 2 3rd place finishes in consecutive years. But, with champ Blessed Trinity in AAAA now, they can focus on chasing East Jackson later in the Fall. They do return 4 of their fastest 7 including frontrunners Jack Powers and Clare Draper. Don't be surprised with their large program a couple a jewels emerge before Region.
3. Pace- The Knights move up to AAA where they should do very well and are a Podium threat after a great runnerup finish in AA. Pace returns 6 of their top 7. 3 All-State performers are ace Jack Douglass who finished 2nd, Rob Warren 3rd and Jack Irvine 6th.
4. North Hall- North Hall moves down a class after a 4th place Podium finish in AAAA. The Trojans lost Corson Teasley, but have 5 solid runners coming back including Tommy Johnston, Devan Crow and Eli Foster. They will go head to head against East Jackson on 8/27 at the new North Georgia meet at Lamar Murphy Park.
5. Coahulla Creek- The Colts had a respectable 9th place finish in 2015 and the big upside is their top 4 is back (6 of 7) They should have no real test out of region 6-AAA other than Calhoun. There have a nice 1-2 punch upfront led by Walt Douglas and Bryce Jones.
6. Lovett- The Lions are coming off a 4th place Podium finish last Fall in AA, and will find AAA a bit more challenging and will need their 3-7 to close the gap on #2. The great news is their top 7 should all be back, including top runners: Everett Smulders (800/1600m champ) and Nicholas Klavohn.
7. Calhoun- The 7-9 ranked teams are very tight. Calhoun (a football powerhouse) had a nice 2015 placing 8th in AAA. They are yet another squad that nearly may have everyone back and in 6-AAA should be a title contender. Esvin Garcia, Eric Garcia and Jason Sosa.
8. Dawson County- Dawson was a distant 10th in AAA last Fall and needs to step it up a bit region 7 or could find themselves on the bubble. They do return 6 of their top 7 though, including top runner Jacob Poston.
9. Savannah Arts- This is probably the top squad out of the Savannah area (all classes) who enjoyed a 7th place finish last Fall. Its hard to gauge them during the season with little knowledge of the courses over there and virtually no hills. They will need to develop some JV or frosh talent to make any kind of push for a Podium spot.
10. Greater Atlanta Christian- Like their Girls squad, the Boys could not get out of tough 6-AA last Fall. They will find the sledding smoother however in AAA. It certainly helps when your top 7 may all be back. Like Dawson County, they need to run well at Region or may risk not Q' for State. Watch list team Union County is unpredictable and be a spoiler. Top returner is Will Brooks.
Watch List: Union County, Morgan County