Spartan Ekiden a New Twist to Cross Country...Relays

           Athens Academy is making final preparations to host what we believe will be the first ever High School Ekiden in Georgia.  Ekiden is a Japanese word that means "messenger between stations."  It has come to mean a long distance relay race.  Saturday on the Spartan Greenway Course competing teams will run a 12 kilometer, coed-cross country relay where participants will wear and transfer colored sashes in the tradition of the Japanese races.  Each team will consist of 2 boys and 2 girls and each runner will make one 3000 meter loop on the course.  Each school may enter up to 5 relay teams with each team wearing a different colored sash.  The first team from each school will wear blue and the second team will wear red with additional teams wearing pink, green and orange.  Coaches and team may choose any order for their runners, thus each leg is likely to be truly coed.  There are 16 schools who have entered a total of just over 50 relay teams for Saturday's event.  Additional runners from those schools will participate in "JV" 3k races for individual honors. 

         The day will get started with a 3K middle school race at 8:45.  The Ekiden will follow at 9:30 with the JV races afterward.  Since the competition pits smaller teams than a normal cross country meet and doesn't score them on place will be hard to predict who will be the top teams.  A school with a top pair of boys or one with two top girls will seem to have an advantage but it will take a solid 4 to bring home the team championship.  Smaller schools who may not even have a full five boys or girls may come into play as the pit their top boys and girls together and make a strong showing.  Two sets of area twins appear to give the edge to some local teams but others may surprise.  North Oconee with the Greenwall twins matched with Ian Wraga and Tripp Hurt will battle Prince Avenue's Rogan twins who are paired with Whitney Henderson and Kylie Wagner.  Other local teams competing will be hosts Athens Academy, Clarke Central, Cedar Shoals, Jefferson and Oglethorpe County.  Spalding, Habersham central and Central Gwinnett will field strong contenders as well. Buford, Hebron Christian, Mt Pisgah, Lakeside-Evans and Towns County are also entered.  All in all it should be an exciting and very different event from the more standard invitational format!  Hope to see you there!

For more info please contact me or (540) 466-0570
or Coach Walton