photo by Daniel McCauley
Alexander/Asics Invitational Preview
This year's Alexander/Asics Invitational is shaping up to be a showdown of some of the state's elite runners with some outstanding runners from Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. Georgia's top two runners East Jackson's Chase Kennedy and Trinity Christian's Jacob McLeod lead the way with the top two times in the state respectively. These two are coached by Hall of Fame coaches Tomy Sitton of East Jackson and Ron Clanton of Trinity Christian. These coaching icons have been coaching for decades. They will have their guys ready to battle. If these two don't bring their "A" games, they will be pushed by Braeden Collins of Alexander, Darr Smith of Johnson Ferry, Trevor Warren of Trinity of Lousiville, Chase Condra of Peachtree Ridge, Cole Stidfole and Calbe Van Geffen of Oak Mountain, Nick Cooke of Etowah and Sam Ellis from Decatur. Look for very fast times. The course is in great shape and has been measured twice in the last two weeks.
Some teams are electing to run their JV's this weekend so these are the teams that look to lead the way.
Trinity of Louisville- They are the 2nd ranked team in Kentucky's 3A division led by Trevor Warren with a season's best of 15:39. They have 5 guys that have run 16:34 or better this season.
Oak Mountain of Alabama- OM is ranked 4th in the state of Alabama. They are led by senior Cole Stidfole. Cole has PR's of 15:20.45 in the 5k as well as a 4:20/9:34 1600/3200 to his credit. OM also has Caleb Van Geffen. Caleb has a 15:53 PR this year. These two help Oak Mountain pack a great 1-2 punch.
Alexander High School- If not for a runner-up at the Wingfoot Invitational, the Cougars would have won every invitational they have run in this year. They are led by Braeden Collins. Braeden has 3 sub 16 minute 5k's to his credit and he has won four meets. The Cougars have senior Tyler Whorton a 1:54/4:19 8/16 guy that has gone 16:02 this year. They are followed by Juniors Koi Williams, 16:05 and Austin Muse 16:12. Senior Warren Taylor also has a sub 17 PR. Rounding out the Cougars top 7 will be Mehki Williams and Nick Albanese
East Jackson- Tomy Sitton's Eagles are led by Kennedy Twins Chase and Chandler. Chase Kennedy is on fire this season with a 5k PR of 14:57. He is undefeated so far this year with a big win over many of the state's best at Wingfoot. His brother has been dealing with some tendonitis in his knee. He has been resting and should be healthy this weekend. Chandler has a PR of 15:25, and if healthy, makes the number 1 ranked team in 3A very deadly.
If these teams should falter in any way look for Harrison, Cambridge, Starrs Mill, Hillgrove or Alpharetta to lead the charge.
The girl's race features some of the state's best talent. 15 ladies enter the meet with a sub 19 5k on their resume this year. Leading the way are two young ladies that are quickly becoming some of the best the state of Georgia has ever produced. Athens Academy's Anna Marian Block and East Jackson's Sue Ann Morales both have been household names in Georgia since busting onto the scene two years ago. Junior Anna Marian Block has an 18:35 5k season best run at the Marist's Double Dip course. Anna has a 2:10 800, 4:46 Mile PR as well. She already has 5 state titles in two year. Sue Ann has a great resume herself. She has a 18:08 5k best this year and a 17:55 PR. She has run 4:59/2:15 for the 1600 and 800. Sue has also won 5 state titles in the distance events. These two will be chased by the following girls- Elizabeth Graves of Riverwood has an 18:18 5k PR this year, Sophia West of Paidiea has run 18:19 and also has a 5:06/11:09 PR for the 1600 and 3200. Landmark Christian has two young ladies that could win this year's race. Nicole Fegans has PR's of 18:00 for the 5k and 5:00/10:41 for the 1600 and 3200. Sarah Foreman has run really well for this year. She has an 18:42 PR this year. These girls will be chased by Macki Walsh of Etowah, Morgan Mihalis of Lakeside, Dekalb, Victoria Simmons of Tennessee's Seigel HS, as well as Woodland of Cartersville's dynamic freshman duo Carli Clymer and Angela Cochran.
The Landmark girls have been dominating all year long. These ladies have had their whole top five break 20 minutes this year, as well as three go under 19. Look for Landmark to run close to an 18:30 for a team time Saturday. Chasing Landmark will be Woodland HS. They are led by two freshmen that have broken 19 this year. Woodland's next three all run between 19:50-20:00. If they can close the gap on their top two they could upset Landmark. The Westminster girls coached by the living legend Amy Eubanks. All Coach Eubanks does is collect jewelry in November. Her ladies have not run on a really fast course this year. Look for Westminster to be much faster than they ran at Wingfoot and Carrollton. We would not be surprised if they had 5 girls under 20 minutes. Harrison HS and Hillgrove could challenge for the trophies if any of the schools above have an off day.