Kiley Murphy of Brookstone
The Kona Ice Trinity XC Fall Classic promises to be a competitive meet this coming Saturday morning. The field has ballooned up to 26 high school squads and at least 10 middle schools/clubs. Per the area weather forecast, the course began to get some rain Thursday evening through Friday morning. Race day conditions could be affected, with temps in the high 60's and partly cloudy.
There are three different groups of high school teams racing. Let's take a look first at the boy's field. Group 1 is comprised of teams from classes 2A-5A. This will be the most competitive race of the morning
Starrs Mill: The Panthers are currently ranked #5 in very tough class 5A. Which includes traditional powers St. Pius X, Blessed Trinity, and 2019 state champ Decatur. I big advantage Starr's Mill is this is their home course which they also practice on.
Locust Grove: The Wildcats from Henry County are no slouch as they are ranked 8th in 5A. Their top runner is Daniel Townsend.
Whitewater: Another set of Wildcats are Whitewater HS which is a few minutes from the course. They are a 'bubble' squad in tough 5A trying to break into the top ten.
Lovett: The Lions are clearly ranked a strong 2nd in class 2A after dropping down in class, only behind #2 all-classes ranked Pace.
Patrick Pitts of Lovett: ranked #1 2A, 16:18 at Longhorn Quad
Colton Olvey of Starrs Mill: ranked #17 5A, 16:30 at AT&T Panther (same course)
Henry Haden of Lovett: ranked #6 2A, 16:41 at Eagle Invitational
Joe Urbanowicz of Lovett: ranked #7 2A, 16:45 at Longhorn Quad
Andrew Lipton of Whitewater: #18 5A, 16:53 at AT&T Panther
Two girl's squads in group 1 are head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
Starr's Mill: Like their boy's team, the Lady Panthers are ranked 5th in very tough class 5A, and may end up being the best girl's team on their home course Saturday.
Whitewater: The Wildcats from just down the road are ranked 9th in 5A and perennially qualify for state every season.
Sydney Lamberson of Lovett: ranked #1 2A, 19:26 at Longhorns Quad
Darby Olive of Starrs Mill: ranked #17 5A, 20:00 at AT&T Panther
Allie Walker of Starrs Mill: ranked #19 5A, 20:40 at AT&T Panther
Group 2 is also shaping up to be a closely fought race. The field consists of some top A-Private squads and tiny Cross-Pointe and Flint River.
Holy Innocents: The Bears are currently ranked #1 in A-Private. They competed well at Marist but will be minus their second runner race day.
Paideia: The Pythons are ranked 4th in A-Private and have a solid top two.
Landmark Christian: The Eagles are ranked 6th with a new head coach in Brittany Truitt and younger brother Zack is a contender to win at state.
Brookstone, Strong Rock Christian, and host Trinity will look to move up and earn some team hardware.
Top Individuals to Watch:
Zack Truitt of Landmark Christian: ranked #1 A-Private, 15:54 at AT&T Panther (same course)
Joe Sapone of Holy Innocents: ranked #2 A-Private, 15:58 at Marist Home Meet
Sam Colton of Paideia: ranked #10 A-Private, 16:41 at AT&T Panther (same course)
Elijah McCauley of Paideia: ranked #12 A-Private, 16:55 at Eagle Invitational
Noah Kilgore of Strong Rock Christian: ranked #16 A-Private, 17:10 at Into the Trail
This may be the most intense race of the day for the team to win. Four schools are ranked in the top 10 of A-Private.
Holy Innocents: The defending class champs sit on top of the rankings thru Week 6. The Bears ran well on a fast Marist course 2 weeks ago. They will be without their #4 runner Saturday.
Hebron Christian: The Lions sit right under Holy Innocents on the rankings ladder. They finished 7th at 2019 state, but have a new runner this season that could make the race Saturday interesting.
Brookstone: Out of Columbus, this squad has improved dramatically since 2019 as shown by their #5 team ranking. Kiley Murphy is one of the top runners all-classes.
Landmark Christian: The Eagles placed 2nd in 2019, but lost some top runners to graduation and the tv industry soon. They currently are ranked 9th.
Kiley Murphy of Brookstone: ranked #2 All-Classes, 18:34 at Deerfield Windsor
Hayden Puett of Holy Innocents: ranked #2 A-Private, 19:08 at Marist Home Meet
Brooke Browning of Hebron Christian: ranked #3 A-Private, 19:17 at Wildcat Country
Reese Neumann of Holy Innocents: ranked #6 A-Private, 19:40 at Marist Home Meet
Ellie Brewer of Hebron Christian: ranked #8 A-Private, 19:42 at North Georgia Championships
Group 3 are the large schools (6A-7A) having the fewest teams in a race with only six schools. Currently, none of these boys squads have broken into the team rankings yet this season. But, Lakeside Evans is the strongest squad, though Mountain View and Buford could give them a run for their money.
Ethan Kurilko of Lakeside Evans: ranked #22 6A, 16:45 at Winder-Barrow Invite
Girls: Like the boys, no team has been ranked in the top 10 this season. But, squads Mountain View, Buford, and Newnan have team averages within seven seconds of each other, so this could be a hotly contested race.
Lauren Michael of Lakeside Evans: ranked #62 6A, 21:31 at Augusta Eagle Invitational.
7:00 am (Group 1-2): Warm-ups; Breakfast; Packet Pick-up begins: