This year's AAAAA girls will look a lot like 2016.
#1- The favorite is Woodland-Cartersville. They return the bulk of last year's state championship team.
#2- Next is Starr's Mill - they continue to build the program and may have enough to threaten Woodland
#3- Another Fayette County school, McIntosh, school comes in third.
#4- This year's sleeper team may be Flowery Branch. The Falcons are perennial podium teams and have been working hard this summer.
#5 is Grady - they have become a perennial top team
#6 Decatur - featuring one of the top girls in the state the Decatur team has also spent a lot of time in the top 10 in recent years
#7 Chamblee is another team that is on the rise. Will their climb in to the top 10 last year result in an even higher finish this year?
#8 Whitewater - a third Fayette County school makes its appearance in the top 10
#9 Union Grove - another perennial top 10 school who features one of the top girls in AAAAA
#10 Jones County - they return last year's state champ and the favorite to win it again this year.
Top Individual Girls:
Erin Leonard of Jones County is the clear favorite. In 2016-17 she developed into one of the top girls in all of Georgia. Other girls who should fight it out for top 5 finishes are: Megan Uszynski of McIntosh, Haley Rose of Decatur, Mckenzie Cromer of Union Grove and Erika Plummer of Flower Branch. Woodland has a duo in the top 10 in Carli Clymer and Angela Cochran. Starr's Mill also features a couple of top girls in Mary Valli and Megan Dobso.
1. McIntosh- While the Chiefs finished 8th last year, they return almost everyone in addition to adding some talented freshman who will contribute. As a result, they are the pre-season favorite on paper.
2. Clarkston- You can never county out the Angoras on the Carrollton course. Repeat State Champions, they will be ready to challenge any and all teams come November. They also return a top 10 favortite in Weldemichael. Who else will emerge for them this season?
3. Starrs Mill- Last year's state runner-up, returns 2 of the individual favorites in Nyman and Fultz. If the rest of their varsity can develop, they will definitely challenge for the top spot.
(4-10) Not much separates the next 7 teams on paper. Anyone of them could snag a podium spot or challenge for the overall title if one of the top 3 should falter.
Union Grove- Last year's 3rd place state team was senior laden, losing 4 of the top 7 to graduation. However, they return two front runners in Zack Burnett and Domonic Macias. They will need the bottom half of their varsity to step up to repeat on the podium, but they have the experience
Whitewater- Last year's 5th place team returns a core group that will challenge for the podium
Flowery Branch- Always a dangerous team at Carrollton in November. Coach Sorrells's squad should be a factor once again this Fall
Hiram- They return one of the pre-season individual state champion favorites in Pyrnneou, but can they assemble enough around him to threaten the podium?
Clarke Central- Last year's 10th place finish announced this program as having arrived. Can they follow it up with a strong Summer of training? They also have a new coach as Alex Holmes comes from Apalachee HS.
Decatur- They graduated their top runner, but still have enough left to take another top 10 finish.
Eagles Landing- They return two potential all-state runners in Jackson and Russell. Long time coach Claud Spinks has stepped down from Cross-Country, but enough talent remains from last year's 4th place finish to make things interesting.