Preview Of The 6A Cross Country Championships

Boys Team Race

For the Team Win:

All Class & 6A  #1 Harrison (Team Avg 16:35) is THE team to beat this year.  The only blemish on their 2019 campaign is a short handed 4th place performance at Berry back in August.  Since then, the Hoyas have gone undefeated against all GA teams.  They have 4 guys who have broken 16:00 and 3 others who are sub 17:00.   It's completely possible that the Hoyas put all 7 in the top 25 runners.  As long as they are healthy heading into Friday morning and don't try to do anything crazy, they should take care of business.  

DO NOT count out defending State Champions, Pope (Team Avg 16:57).  With 3 guys who are potential top 10 finishers, if the back end of their team has a great day, they could knock of the top dogs and defend their title.

Fighting for the Podium:
This year looks to be a Battle Royale to make the podium.  With several teams rounding into form, this will be very close.  

Let's begin with 6A power Cambridge (Team Avg 17:07.)  While they do not have a top runner looking to win, they have experience in their pack of runners.  This is a very seasoned team that know how to race the Carrollton course.

Next to consider is up and coming Region 5 Champ Alexander (Team Avg 17:05.)  The Cougars have laid low this season while gaining valuable experience.  With a coach that knows how to prepare for State, look for them to be in the mix.

The Red Elephants of Gainesville (Team Avg 17:42) have had a great year in winning several meets this season including Region 8. Having success in the regular season teaches teams how to compete and these kids are hungry for some more hardware.

Out of sight does not mean Out of Mind with Richmond Hill (Team Avg 18:02) from the Savannah area.  This team has snuck up on many a team at CES and they mean business when they show up to a meet.

Rounding Out the Top 10:

Lakeside-Evans (Team Avg 18:04) looks to make another top 10 finisher with a strong #1 runner.  Allatoona (Team Avg 17:44) has been in and out of the top 10 all season.  Alpharetta (Team Avg 17:10) with a very strong team average was highly ranked early.   Creekview had a good Region 6 meet.  North Atlanta showed they can compete at the Atlanta Classic.  Lanier is another up and comer to look out for.

Boys Individual Race

Top of the Class:

Sullivan Shelton of Harrison is averaging 15:30 for the season with wins at Cobb Co, Gulf Coast Stampede, Coach Wood & Region 6.  He has a runner up at Wingfoot and a 6th place at Great American. Sully has a monster kick and has big meet experience.  He was 4th in last years race to 3 seniors.

Sam Rich of Lakeside, Evans is averaging 16:17 with wins at Greenbrier Home Meet and Region 3.  Sam was 5th at last year's meet making him the 2nd best returner to this year's race.

Cole Heron of Pope is averaging 16:14 and is the Region 7 Champion. Cole has 7 top 5 finishes in his 9 starts this season.  Cole was 13th at last year's meet.

Ben Butcher of Dacula hasn't finished any lower than 2nd this season and has a 16:13 avg with wins at the Apple Hawkins Inv and Region 8.

Jonathan Green of Evans is averaging 16:03 and has wins at Wingfoot and the Atlanta Classic.  Jonathan was 28th in lase year's race.

Other top Contenders:

Noah Connelly of Harrison has the 3rd best avg of 16:09 and looks to help the Hoyas claim their 1st team title with a podium finish.
KC Heron of Pope was 10th at State last year and boasts a 16:32 avg. KC is a huge piece of the Pope title defense. 
Anders Law is the leader of the Cambridge Bears with a 16:33 avg.
William Brown of Pope is part of the Greyhound trifecta.  He has an avg time this season of 16;33 and finished 8th in last year's race.
Abayomi Woolheater of Alpharetta had a strong Region 7 performance and holds a 16:38

Other Podium Contenders:

Several others  that can claim a podium spot Friday morning:

Kaden McVey, Harrison
Amir Dayal, Alexander
Grant Crabtree, Alexander
Thomas Hotard, Habersham 
Deacon Law, Cambridge

Girls Team Race


For the Win:

There are several ladies teams who think they have a chance to take the top spot on the Podium Friday morning.  Let me go in Alphabetical order as to not list favorite:

Allatoona Lady Bucs (Team Avg 20:33) are the Champions of Region 6 with a 20:01 team avg.  Their 1st Region title in 6A and also won the Aubrea Gunderson Inv.  This young group of girls is rounding into shape just at the right time.  Question is, how will they fair against the more experienced teams over the hills of CES?

Cambridge Lady Bears (Team Avg 20:06) are the Region 7 Champs again but probably more importantly, the 2x Defending State Champions.   Experience is very important in  a meet like State and this team has it.  Watch for there to be a lot of Cambridge blue up near the front.

Pope Lady Greyhounds (Team Avg 20:29)  were ranked #1 6A after their performance at Coach Wood, but were short handed at Region. Like their boys, they have a group of 3 up front that can score low. IF these ladies are full strength on Friday, they could be the team to beat.

Fighting for the Podium:
There are also a few teams that will be battling for a podium spot, once again in Alphabetical order:

Alexander Lady Cougars (Team Avg 21:06) won the Region 5 meet but don't let the team avg fool you, these girls have run some fast times.

Creekview Lady Grizzlies (Team Avg20:18) will have a low stick so they essentially are racing 4 vs. 5 against most teams.

Harrison Lady Hoyas (Team Avg 20:09) were Region 6 runnerups not far behind Allatoona and at one point were All Class Ranked and 6A #1, but looked to be snakebit since midseason.  Can they get healthy enough to keep their podium finish streak alive?

Johns Creek Lady Gladiators (Team Avg 21:21) finished runner up at Region 7 and won their race at Asics and was a close 2nd at Wingfoot. These ladies would sure love to rock the boat of the usual podium teams.

Rounding Out the Top 10:
Several more teams could make some noise as well.  Richmond Hill (21:21) has been rolling down in South GA. Alpharetta (21:06) had a less than desired finish at Region, but look to upset some on Friday.Gainesville (21:34) with rolled through Region 8 this season.  River Ridge (21:35) andEvans (21:32) look to solidify top 10 spots as well.

Girls Individual Race

Top of the Class:

This group of girls had 4 different State Champs last school year, so this will be interesting.  Many of these girls have not seen each other this season.

Makena Gates of Creekview, Let's begin with 2x Defending State Champion. She boasts a 18:27 avg and wins at: Battle of the Fairways, Carrollton (that's important), Warpath and Region. She is probably the favorite based on her strength over 5000m.

Ashley Sechrest of Cambridge is the State 3200m Champ.  She has an avg this season of 18:47. She is the Region 7 champ and has 5 other top ten finishes. Ashley was 3rd in the 2018 XC meet.

Kayla Gholar of Richmond Hill is the State 1600m Champion.  Her season avg is 18:48, but she won all but 1 of her races, so how pushed has she been.  With a great kick the other girls will hope she's not around late in the race. Kayla was 8th last year.

Makenna Croft of Douglas Co is not a State Champ, yet!  But she has been on fire with the State's best avg of 18:25.  Winning all but 1 of her races as well this season, a close one to a NON-6A runner.  She was the 6A runner up in XC last Fall.

Katy Earwood of Evans HS has improved tremendously from 2018 and established herself as one of the top runners in 6A this Fall. She has won 3 races this season and sports a pr' of 18:12 achieved at Atlanta Classic. 

Other top Contenders:

Madison Kennedy of Evans HS is the top sophomore in 6A. Kennedy pr'd at Asics going 18:30

Ashley Thompson  of Gainesville HS is the #2 sophomore in 6A. Thomas pr'd at Warpath in 18:39

Anna Filipek  of Cambridge (frosh) is the Bears' #2 runner, she has a pr of 18:45 achieved at Asics. 

Charlotte Dunn of Pope is the 2nd fastest frosh in 6A sporting a pr of 18:48 from Coach Wood. 

Lorel Golden of Pope is the Greyhound's #2 runner who achieved her pr of 18:58 also at Coach Wood. 

Other Podium Contenders:

Several others  that can claim a podium spot Friday morning:

Simone Rojas, Evans HS
Ashley Sosa, Gainesville HS
Sarah Gotwalt, Alpharetta
Sophie Boice,  Pope 
Anna Windom, Harrison HS