Oglethorpe Boys Wins Epic 2A Battle, Bleckley Girls Too Deep

Champ Griffin Stephens

2A Boys

(pics by Dan McCauley unless noted)

After the hotly contested 8-AA region meet, with the 1-3 ranked squads bouncing up and down in October, we were in for a rare treat in the 2A Boys race at State. Union County came in as the defending champs, Banks County won region and the young Patriots from Oglethorpe County were within striking distance, as well as 2 time Champ Bleckley County from central Georgia. But in November, anything is possible and can happen on the unpredictable 'Hills of Carrollton' 

Griffin Stephens heads for home

Race Breakdown:

This felt like something special, as teams huddled and 'yawped their battle cries' shortly before race instructions were given. 8-aa powers Banks, Union and Oglethorpe were in a conjested pack about 30m behind the leaders at Mile 1. Griffin Stephens of Banks split a 5:06 with frosh Luke Churchwell of Bleckley cutting out a 5:11. Cresting 'Separation Slope' there were no reports over the pa system.. Beginning loop 2, Griffin had a 5m lead over defending champ Garrett Rogers of Bleckley County with Churchwell comfortably in 3rd place 2 Mile splits were announced with Garrett going 10:32 Stephens at 10:38. Stephens made a big move though and took the lead before the runners began ascending the final tough hill. You will have to watch the race video (which should be available late Monday to see the best finish of the entire State meet) as Stephens fought off a last ditch charge by Rogers down the hill, winning by .06 in a time of 16:44.15..

Runnerup Garrett Rogers of Bleckley County

But, more drama was occurring, as Oglethorpe County's pack was busy as their 1-5 had an impressive split of 1:16 earning the Pats' their 1st GHSA XC State title in school history. Freshman Luke McGarity paved the way for the Pats placing 9th in 17:46. Union County gave it hell, but came up 4 points shy of defending their title. Bleckley County had a strong race, ending up 3 points behind Union County. Banks County had a letdown after winning Region 8-AA, but made the Team Podium placing 4th. On a side note, Model's top 3 had them in contention early, but Vidalia took 5th.

Luke McGarity led the Patriots (file pic)

Oglethorpe County (file pic)

2A Boys All-State Team

1Griffin Stephens12Banks County HS16:44.151
2Garrett Rogers12Bleckley County High School16:44.212
3Luke Churchwell9Bleckley County High School17:24.683
4Luke Gambrell11Union County HS17:35.204
5Simon Schabort9Model17:43.545
6Martin Santana12Toombs County HS17:44.276
7Cole Register12Vidalia17:45.227
8Jordan Hellier12Model17:45.658
9Luke McGarity9Oglethorpe County HS17:46.319
10John Morgan Bolmer12Berrien County HS17:48.3810

Luke Churchwell of Bleckley sprints around the final corner

Luke Gambrell & Simon Schaebort (file pic)

Race Video


2A Team Champs Bleckley County (Nancy Turknett)

Bleckley County is definitely the team to beat in this race as the Royals' have now won 4 consecutive 2A titles since all the Metro private schools were moved up or down making this a true Public school class except for St. Vincents' Academy out of Savannah. 

3 Time Champ Zoe Sanchez of Union County
Race Breakdown:

4 girls were in contact at Mile 1, including Tristen Crosby of Bleckley, Mari Jablonski of Monticello, Zoe Sanchez of Union County and Rebecca Chandler of Berrien County. Defending Champ Sanchez split 6:10, and Crosby 6:12. Beginning loop 2, Sanchez continued to lead having a 15m gap on Crosby with Jablonski 35m back. Bleckley had a strong team lead at the 2 Mile mark, as Sanchez split 12:43 and Crosby 13:03. 

Sanchez continued to build her lead to over 100m and 3-peated as the 2A Champ clocking a 20:06. Frosh Tristen Crosby from Bleckley had her best race of the Fall earning runnerup honors going 20:34, with senior team mate/mentor Austin Perez closing out her GHSA XC career in style placing 3rd in 20:49. Former State Champ, Sr. Mari Jablonski of Monticello HS placed 4th posting a 21:26 and Berrien County ace, Sr. Rebecca Chandler was 5th overall going 21:36.

Runnerup Tristen Crosby of Bleckley County

Austin Perez of Bleckley County was 3rd overall

Mari Jablonski of Monticello was 4th overall (file pic)

Out of the immediate spotlight, things were happening in the team race for 2nd place. Oglethorpe County was not on the 'radar' for MileSplit GA rankings thru September. Then, the Lady Pats' suddenly began to make noise in mid October. The Wadsworth sisters (Katie & Lizzie) improved dramatically and 2019 2A 800m champ Ella Stoudamire  decided to join the team and pitch in. Along with 2 experienced seniors at 4,5 the Pats' rose to 2nd in tough 8-AA. And, followed that up making the Team Podium finishing 2nd. 

2A Girls All-State Team

1Zoe Sanchez12Union County HS20:06.821
2Tristen Crosby9Bleckley County High School20:34.202
3Austin Perez12Bleckley County High School20:49.183
4Mari Jablonski12Monticello HS21:26.350
5Rebecca Chandler12Berrien County HS21:36.474
6Shelby Green9Armuchee21:39.245
7Bridget Mainor9St. Vincent's Academy (SVA)21:47.146
8Zoie Marchant10Jeff Davis21:52.647
9Katie Wadsworth11Oglethorpe County HS21:54.938
10Jessie Schroeder10Model21:55.290

Race Action