The Annual Cobb County Cross Country Championships will take place Saturday morning at the beautiful Allatoona Creek Park. Racing begins at 7:45 a.m. with the JV girls race. JV boys follow at 8:25 a.m. and the varsity races are at 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. for the girls then boys respectively. This meet brings a ton of highly ranked teams. The teams that podium here have a great chance to podium at state in November.
Defending champion Elizabeth Rice formerly of Kennesaw Mountain is now a freshman at Georgia Tech. There are a number of top athletes that could be battling to take the title. Based on her track season, Marietta's Ellie Hall could be the favorite. However she'll have to hold off Hillgrove's Grace Ellsworth who is off to a strong start this season. Both will have to look out for their own teammates as Marietta's Ani Henderson defeated her teammate at Jekyll Island last week and Hillgrove's Nicole Franklin has been a top finisher at county every year. Walton's Abigail Robertson and Pope's Sophie Boice both look to be in that front pack.
Marietta is the defending County and State Champions and look even more loaded this year. They've won at their first two meets this year and have veteran leadership in Hall and Henderson as well as a bunch of young guns ready to roll. They come in ranked #1 in 7A. However, Hillgrove is right behind as #3 and Walton, fresh off a close victory at Berry Clara Bowl, is ranked #4 in 7A. Not to be forgotten are the ladies from Pope who are coming in as #3 in 6A. Harrison would be in the mix, but their young varsity members will be racing at Carrollton in preparation for November. Add in the Allatoona Lady Bucs, who are #9 in 6A, and despite Harrison's absence, the front of Cobb County is loaded for the ladies.
Like the girls, the defending champion for the boys, Adrian Hernandez of Allatoona, is now a collegiate athlete. The top finisher from last year's meet that has raced this season is Sully Shelton of Harrison, but he'll be at Carrollton, so the boys race is wide open. Leading contenders are Kamari Miller, the super soph from Marietta, Noah Hayes of Hillgrove, Alex Dyck of Wheeler and Zac Shaffer of Walton. Hillgrove is loaded with other top boys in Chase Korzenok and Peter Brooks. Walton's depth includes Connor Old and Alex Helms. While the entire Pope top 5 have a shot of sneaking into the top 10.
Pope is the defending champion and looks to be up for a repeat. The Greyhounds are ranked #2 in 6A and look to be the first team to get 5 across the line. Walton and Hillgrove look to knock off Pope as they come in ranked #3 and #6 in 7A respectively. Both teams have firepower up front, the question is where their #5 runners come across the line. With a relatively small field, this could be very interesting and very close. Harrison boys, like the girls, are sending their top 7 to Carrollton, or else this would be an even deeper meet. Should still be some great racing at one of the most beautiful courses in the state.