Bram Mansbach Interview:
Ellie Spears Interview:
ATLANTA - October 8, 2019 -- Grady High School added two new trophies to its case Tuesday night as the Knights won both the boys and girls team titles for the third consecutive year at the APS Cross Country City Championships in Grant Park. Grady also took the top two individual spots in the boys' race and the top five spots in the girls' race resulting in a rare perfect score.
In weather conditions that were considerably cooler and drier than at prior races this season, the boys' race got out to a fast start with Logan Beasley of KIPP Atlanta Collegiate leading a pack of seven through the first mile of the hilly Grant Park course in 5:26. When the pack came through the second mile, Grady senior Bram Mansbach had taken over the lead with his teammate and fellow class of 2020 member Kavi Jakes on his shoulder. The pair worked together to put some distance on North Atlanta's Ethan Curnow and with a half mile to go, Mansbach had opened up a 15 meter lead on the rest of the field. He never looked back cruising to victory in 17:18. Jakes held onto second finishing in 17:28, but having to outkick Curnow in the chute. Beasley took fourth in 17:33 and Jayden Causey of Drew Charter rounded out the top five in 17:41.
"That was harder than usual," said Mansbach whose winning time was the fastest on the Grant Park course in 2020. "It's always our goal to win this race, but it really means a lot to me my senior year."
Mansbach's win lead the Grady team to a score of 37 points, defeating rival North Atlanta by just nine points. Maynard Jackson took third place with 84 points.
The Grady girls won their fifth straight city title in convincing fashion. Their entire top five took the lead from the start with sophomore Ellie Spears leading the pack through the first mile in 6:58. No one ever contested the group with the five runners sticking together throughout the duration of the race. At the second mile mark, the group split 14:28 with two North Atlanta runners and Elanor Finlayson of Maynard Jackson trying to break up the party. But, they would have no such luck. Spears guided her teammates to the easy win in 22:02. She was followed by freshman Emilia Weinrobe (22:06), Elena Hubert (22:15), Marisa Lapata (22;28), and Zoe Chan (22:31).
"I love running with my teammates because we push each other" Spears said after the race. She said sweeping the top five was the team's plan going into the race. Their ability to succeed was "only in doubt for a little bit," she said with a laugh.
Behind Grady's dominant team score of 15, the second and third place teams mirrored the boys' race although the battle for second was a nailbiter. North Atlanta runners took sixth, seventh and eighth place but five runners from Maynard Jackson separated the Warriors' next two runners. North Atlanta scored 55 points and Maynard Jackson placed third with a score of 61.
"This was the goal," said Grady's longtime coach Jeff Cramer of the dual victory. Noting that all of his runners ran nearly a minute faster than they have at previous APS meets on the Grant Park this year, Cramer said he's treated the other races as tempo workouts, only letting his team go all out for the championship race. "I try to hold them back on this course because it's a hard course on your legs," he said.