(all photos by Marc Logan)
Racing was fast and furious at the 2nd Annual Kona Ice Fall XC Classic and everyone got to enjoy those sweet icy concoctions post-race, even though the line was very long for thirsty competitors and fans. One fact about this meet is that it has tripled in size, and has eyes on growing to become a major meet in Georgia Fall XC. Trinity Christian-Sharpsburg outdid themselves in putting on a competitive quality meet. On another note, a few individuals dropped the hammer full bore, including the newest sheriff' on the Girl's side in sophomore Kiley Murphy of Brookstone.
Meet Director JP Weaver discusses the event, "There were 775 student-athletes in attendance, representing 32 different schools or middle school clubs, including 28 junior runners in competition at some point during the event. Yesterday went about as smoothly as we could have hoped for from start to finish. It truly was a great day from when the starter gun echoed throughout the team infield and spectator areas for the first event at 8:00 am, concluding with our crowds cheering on our elementary runners from Brookstone, CrossPointe, Flint River, and Trinity in the junior division to finish out the event at noon.
Steve Andrews serves as the XC & T&F Public Announcer/MC. He did an amazing job reminding our audience about the featured meet of the week on Georgia MileSplit! He also made it a point to remind our athletes, coaches, and spectators about the importance of social distancing that works alongside the GHSA and GATFXCCA recommendations related to COVID-19 guidelines. Steve also reminded everyone there would be 5,000-6,000 pictures posted by Marc Logan of Flash Photography. Of course, there was an emphasis to go visit our vendors from Big Peach on Wheels, Heirloom Market on Wheels (best donuts in the Metro Atlanta area), and our event host, Kona Ice. Unfortunately, Truth Bomb T-shirts did not have the ability to come on-site due to a family emergency, but we were able to update plans to still host extended pre-orders. A big thank you goes out to Lamar Grant and First Call Timing for running a smooth event as our official timing company. The athletic training staff and the nursing team representing TCS did an amazing job taking care of athletes after the finish line in the chutes.
As I am closely connected with the Trinity XC program, I do not serve a direct role on the coaching staff in the fall. Based on these details, It's a huge plus to be able to fully be engaged in coordinating the event as the director of the event without having a commitment as a coach Since 2013 the track and field program at Trinity Christian School has been involved in hosting four region championships (2021 GHSA Region 4 Host), four GAPPS/GICAA championships for middle school meet, along with hosting between two and four regular-season home meets per spring. Starting last fall, we hosted the first official cross country event, followed by serving as the region champion host. As a matter of fact, there were nine assistant coaches from the TCS T&F coaching staff in attendance yesterday morning, devoted in serving roles being involved either as an official starter, working at the check-in table, serving parking lot duties, and/or set up all around the trails as course marshals.
The restricted area between the home stretch on the course and the spectator area served as a great option for this event, allowing all student-athletes the opportunity to exit the chutes with space and without distractions. Also, depending on the group and race, the top 10 or 15 individuals immediately received medals for their performances at the end of the chutes that were handed out by TCS student volunteers. This area also allowed our spectators to see the athletes be honored for top achievements, along with the top team(s) being honored during multiple trophy presentations. There were six trophies for all the group champions per high school race, along with the top 2 teams from both the girls and boys middle school events receiving a runner-up and championship cup. The event concluded with the top teams from the elementary junior events receiving the championship cup which happened to be a clean sweep by the Trinity teams! More importantly, this allowed our event to follow guidelines and recommendations to create a safe environment.
It's our goal to host this event in 2021 on the final weekend in September. We are encouraged that all our teams will plan to be back in attendance, with the opportunity to host 30-40 schools and clubs with a similar format. Moving forward looking ahead to the spring, we expect to see many of the same schools with plans to participate in spring track and field meets on campus, which includes our early bird classic on February 12th, our relay event on February 27th, and for the 1st Annual Coweta/Fayette Invitational scheduled for Saturday, March 20th! Other home events will include postseason action for the GAPPS meet and as the GHSA Private-A Region 4 host in late April.
Allen Israel Sutton