The battle for the AAAAA girls team title is between the last 2 state champs in this classification. If either team is off just a little the other should win. The winner of this race should have one of the lowest scores of the day.
McIntosh is seeking to repeat as 5A champs. They are deep and strong, looking very impressive in horrible rainy weather at Region 3, having a perfect team score, 19:20 team avg and 1-5 split of :43. The Chiefs have 3 girls who are capable of making the All-State squad. The lady Chiefs placed 4th at Great American in the ROC.
Woodland is battle tested and experienced having a strong top 3. Alot of lows sticks for the lady Wildcats on Friday morning will help push their hopes up for a team title. The lady Wildcats were team runnerups in 2017 only 19 points back..
Another tight race will be for the final 2 podium spots. Starr's Mill has been at #3 all season and have become a perennial podium team. The lady Panthers were 3rd in 2017, and will need to have a better race than they had at region 3 to hold off Union Grove, Clarke Central and others.
Union Grove has occupied the #4 spot all season, but haven't put their entire lineup on the course very often. If they are able to Friday, the Wolverines could have a very positive result. Gabby Parsons could get them off to a good start.
Clarke Central's girls have bought into the program this season and are coming on strong, carrying a lot of momentum into the state meet. The 2 teams that best handle the Carrollton course should occupy the final 2 podium spots.
There are several dangerous teams looking to move up. Grady, Decatur and Riverwood finished in that order at the region 5 meet. It isn't unusual for the order to change at the state meet.. Will any run well enough to challenge for a podium spot though? Decatur and Riverwood both have front runners that will help them in the larger state meet field. Rounding out the top 10 in some order should be Jones County, East Paulding and Whitewater. Looking to make a splash and break into the top 10 are Walnut Grove, South Effingham and Loganville.
Girls Individual Race
McKenna Trapheagen of Woodland has asserted herself as one of the best in Georgia and is the Overall race favorite. McKenna has 4 wins this Fall, including the region 7 meet in 18:24. Trapheagen also had strong outings at Coach Wood (4th-17:59), Great American (18th- 18:18) and 8th at Wingfoot XC at 18:59.
She will be challenged though by freshman Gabby Parsons of Union Grove. She has improved all season, culminating in a dominant win at the Region 4 race (19:27) winning by :47 Parsons turned a 20:23 at Carrollton 9/8 in brutal heat and pr'd at the ATL Classic (18:32)
Mackenzie Walls of Veterans HS near Warner Robins, has established herself as one of the top runners south of the metro ATL area. Walls was 2nd at BOA in 19:14 and 11th at Wingfoot (19:03) and has 4 wins this season including region 1 (18:36) (photo by Daniel McCauley)
Haley Rose of Decatur won Region 6, and placed 8th at Battle of Atlanta in 20:01. She also ran well at 2017 State, clocking a 19:44 (4th) on the hills of Carrollton
Elle Mezzio of Riverwood has ran very well on the flatter courses with a pr of 18:44 at Clinton Farms and 2nd behind Haley Rose at region 6.
Others challenging for top 10: Kayla Rose, Zoe Smith, Marina Serra and Megan Uszynski of McIntosh, Angela Cochran and Carlie Clymer of Woodland, Laney Doster and perhaps Erin Leonard of Jones County, and Samantha Broderick of Clarke Central.