Middle School State: Top Teams and Individuals to Watch

With every passing hour, the Georgia Middle School State Championships grows closer. At the close of registration, 117 teams and 1891 athletes have signed up. Which is an impressive amount, considering how COVID-19 has impacted this season. Bleckley County's staff has been working relentlessly to prepare for the meet and all the teams, coaches, and fans that will be in attendance. One fact is certain, six new individual champions will be crowned, as all of the 2019 champs are now competing on the high school level. Also, at press time Holy Innocents has decided not to send a scoring team down to Cochran this weekend. Thus, the Small School Boys race is wide open. There is also a new division that was created for 2020. By popular demand, there will be a 'Club' team championship race! 

Boys Teams in Contention:

Club Race Boys

This race is very unpredictable and whoever wins will have the honor of being the first Club team champ in meet history.  From the virtual meet we ran, Junior Hoyas are the favorites, followed by Great Strides who have been dominant this season. Atlanta Track Club- Youth, Brookwood Youth, Mill Creek Hawks, and Alpha Crush should also be in the mix.

Large School Boys

Woodland Euharlee MS returns as the defending champion and should once again be in the mix to win a title. Tift Middle Schools looks strong on paper and doesn't have a long bus ride lie, some of the other schools do. Dacula MS was ranked #1 in Georgia in the last rankings set, with a 12:36 team average at Bob Roller. Dean Rusk MS should be pushing hard for a team Podium appearance post-race. Richmond Hill won the race at Bleckley County Invitational a week ago and were Southern Georgia champs as well. Buford MS and Taylor Road MS are not to be counted out as well. 

Medium School Boys

The 'Battle of Hog Mountain' will get decided in Cochran this Saturday. This includes #2 Malcom Bridge MS and rival #3 Oconee County MS which are separated by six miles on the same road. Jefferson MS should be in contention to win some team hardware too. North Hall MS, Hart County, and Morgan County have raced well this season. All of these squads have competed against each other this Fall.

Small School Boys

This could be the hottest boys team race of the entire meet. With 2019 champ Holy Innocents not competing as a team, the race is wide open. Metro Atlanta schools Lovett MS and Pace Academy MS have both appeared in the team rankings and will continue their rivalry like their upper school programs. Cornerstone Christian, meet host Bleckley County MS and Jeff Davis all have a strong chance of winning a team trophy. 

Girls Teams in Contention:

Club Race Girls

Great Strides has been dominant in the regular season (undefeated). Look for Brookwood Youth, Atlanta Track Club, Alpha Crush, Junior Hoyas and Mill Creek Hawks to be pushing for team Podium spots. 

Large School Girls

This is a stacked field and could produce the fastest team times of the meet. Five large schools were ranked squads in the Week 8 rankings. Four of them swept the top 4 spots in the 2019 meet, including defending champ Dean Rusk MS, Taylor Road, Richmond Hill, and Woodland Euharlee. 

Medium School Girls

Marist has been coming down to Cochran for 10 years, and with the exception of the 2016 State championships, have enjoyed a very happy trip back home with a lot of hardware. They are definitely the odds on favorite to triumph again in the Medium School division. Their main competition should come from a good North Hall squad who has two frontrunners, East Jackson MS who has a large program, and Malcom Bridge MS. 

Small School Girls

With Holy Innocents out of the picture, this opens the door for the defending champ, meet host Bleckley County MS to claim the Small School Girls team title again. George Walton pulled off an upset back in 2018 and will be in the mix. Cornerstone Christian has raced well this season. Atlanta school Lovett MS has a very low average in the 3000m races.

Top Boys Individuals
(PR's are based on 3200/2-mile races unless otherwise noted*)

As mentioned above, there will be new individual champions recognized in each 'championship race. Who will emerge as the top performer of the meet on the boy's side? I've been out there enough this season to watch about half of these athletes race this season. The most impressive harrier noticed was Thomas Latham of the 'Run Zero to Hero' club. Bleckley County's course is the great equalizer for middle schoolers, much like Carrollton is for high schoolers. If you have never raced at Bleckley and are a serious contender for an individual title, a Friday afternoon visit/jog thru could prove helpful come race day. This course is definitely NOT a pancake, surprisingly testy, with an uphill finish. 

MileSplit Georgia will be onsite shooting video of every race, a photo gallery, and full resolution pics for a complete meet summary Sunday. We are from Athens, so expect a photo gallery to be LIVE around 9 pm, and race video ready for viewing late Sunday afternoon. Fast Feet Timing has been the timer for this meet since 2010. Race results will be posted at fastfeet.us after the completion of each race by head timer Karl Brust. Please, do not enter the Timer's area asking what your athlete's time was, go to Fast Feet's website. Go to fastfeet.us and click on LIVE RESULTS. 

Athlete: Thomas Latham
School: Run Zero to Hero
PR: 10:42 (2-mile) 
Race: Club Race

 Athlete: Sam Wingfield
 School: Morgan County
 PR: 11:17 (2-mile)
Race: Medium School

Athlete: Loden Kohrman
 School: King's Ridge Christian
 PR:  11:11 (2-mile)
Race: Small School

 Athlete: John Dodson
 School: St. James Catholic
 PR:  11:18 (2-mile)
Race: Small School

 Athlete: Jackson Hogsed 
 School: Riverwatch MS
 PR:  11:23 (2-mile)
Meet: Large School

 Athlete: Bryant Young
 School: North Hall MS
 PR: 11:05 (3200m) 
Race: Medium School

 Athlete: Ben Winn
 School: Great Strides
 PR: 11:27 (3200m) 
Race: Club

 Athlete: Corbin Squires
 School: Dacula MS
 PR:  11:37 (3200m)
Race: Large School

Athlete: Allen Israel Sulton IV
School: Unattached
PR:  11:16 (3000m)*
Race: Club

Athlete:  Sawyer McGinnis
 School: Crisp County MS
 PR:  11:17 (2-mile)
Meet: Medium School

Athlete: Briggs Dominy
School: Bleckley County MS
PR:  11:32 (2-mile)
Race: Small School

Athlete: Luke Swenk
School: St. Benedict's
PR:  11:38 (3200m)
Race: Small School

Top Girls Individuals

On the girl's side, Ella Gibbs of Bleckley County may have an advantage, as the Royals also practice on this course, which has several different layouts and trails. Girls who have raced more 2-mile/3200m events could come into play Saturday. Subjectively, no one out these girls below stands out from the others, as they all are very fast. 

 Athlete: Clodagh O'Bryant
 School: North Hall MS
 PR:  11:57 (2-mile)
Race: Medium School

 Athlete: Ella Gibbs
 School: Bleckley County
 PR:  12:07 (2-mile)
Race: Small School

 Athlete: Azalea Snell
 School: Loganville Christian
 PR:  12:47 (3200m)
Race: Small School

 Athlete: Jessie Dubnik
School: North Hall MS
PR:  12:23 (2-mile)
Race: Medium School

 Athlete: Eva Murphy
School: Georgia Elite Youth
 PR:  12:29 (2-mile)
Race: Club Race

 Athlete: Audrey Hotard
School: Habersham MS
PR:  12:16 (3200m)
Race: Medium School

 Athlete: Hayden Hand 
School: Dawson County
PR:  12:23 (3200m)
Race: Medium School

 Athlete: Amelia Ogden
School: Great Strides
PR:  12:28 (3200m)
Race: Club

Athlete: Elizabeth Stamey
School: High Meadows
PR: 12:57 (3200m)
Race: Large School

Athlete: Mary Parrish Green
School: Lovett MS
PR:  11:14 (3000m)*
Race: Small School

Athlete: Abigail Hotard
School: Habersham MS
PR:  12:30 (3200m)
Race: Medium School

Athlete: Ava Marsh
School: Marist
PR:  12:38 (2-mile)
Race: Medium School

Athlete: Shari Brown
School: Landmark Christian
PR: 11:35 (3000m) *
Race: Small School