2019 A Private boys State video
This class had a much different feel to it since the A classification was split into two separate classes, Private and Public, back in 2012. During the summer, the GHSA voted to eliminate the 'Area meets' and contest Region meets. It had largely negative effects on Class 7A, but it also impacted the A classes, especially the quality of the State qualifying meets. The now-defunct Area meets could actually be very competitive most years, but the new Region meets are far smaller and much less competitive, with some Regions only having 4 schools now. The number of state qualifiers also doubled from 16 up to 32 schools.
Teams in Contention:
Earlier in the season, with circumstances very uncertain due to COVID-19, many meets were forced to cancel in August and September. That left schools scrambling to enter other invitationals. The Mercy Invite (OLM) was one of first to cancel.
Wesleyan: The defending champs are eerily similar to Westminster (3A). They typically start off slow, and they have a challenging home course and great coaching. Wesleyan decided to let it go at Bob Roller, dropping a 17:03 team average, and, since, they have improved every week. They blitzed Holy Innocents at Region with pack running. Mac Howie and Stafford McDaniel are their top runners.
Holy Innocents: The Golden Bears were top of the bill the first six weeks of the regular season. They competed well at Marist Tri on 9/12 and won both Kona Ice XC Fall Classic in Fayetteville and Viking Invite down in Macon (FPD). Joe Sapone is a contender to win State, and William Welden is a solid #2.
Whitefield Academy: One thing about Whitefield Academy is that they have been consistent this season. The 'Wolfpack' was ranked #3 all season in A Private and won Region 2, besting Paideia by eight points with their 1-4 runners having a Split of just over 9 seconds! Taylor Wade turned in 16:40 at Coach Wood.
Paideia: Much like Whitefield, the Pythons have been consistent, ranked #4 all season behind the Wolfpack. Team Co-Captains, Sam Colton and Elijah McCauley, have proven to be their top two harriers at every race this season. If their 3-6 runners can pick it up at State, they could challenge for 3rd.
Athens Academy: The Spartans are another difficult squad to gauge. They hosted a ton of small duals-tri meets and stayed close to home during this COVID-19 environment competing at Clarke-Oconee championships and the Jefferson Challenge. Jackson Scruggs (17:03) and Lewis Scruggs (17:27) are their top runners.
Deerfield-Windsor: The former GHSA school out of Albany has enjoyed their first season in the GHSA. The Knights are a difficult squad to gauge, though. They have a low team average of 17:27, but that's largely due to 2 low sticks in Graham Ford and John Durham. Carrollton will be a test for them Saturday.
Top Athletes to Watch:
Zack Truitt (Landmark Christian): 'Zack Attack' really had an excellent senior campaign this Fall under the guidance of his older sister Coach Brittany Truitt. He was in lead packs with the big boys (Miller and Wachtel) and hung tough, finishing strong. The Georgia Tech signee, with a SB of 15:12 at Coach Wood, is the pre-race favorite.
Evan Prince (Tallulah Falls): Prince had a breakout season in 2019, and has continued to improve throughout the season. He smoked the field at Region 8-A with a time of 16:13, while setting a PR at Asics of 15:42. He trains right across the highway from Tallulah Gorge, and there are a few hills up that way, lol.
Joe Sapone (Holy Innocents): The 'Flyin' Hawaiian' first made his mark on the XC scene at the MS State Championships back in 2018 and has transitioned nicely into the 5k distance races. Sapone had a great race at the Marist Tri on 9/12, winning with a SB time of 15:58 over the Marist and St. Pius X studs.
Mac Howie (Wesleyan): Howie has led Wesleyan to consecutive state titles in 2018 and 2019. The senior will be on a mission to make it a 3-peat this coming Saturday. Mac has been consistently good, going sub 17:00 in every race in 2020, with a SB of 16:22 at AT&T Panther.
Sam Colton (Paideia): The Python senior has also answered the bell every race this season, going sub 17:00 in each. His SB was achieved at Coach Wood, going 16:23, and his leadership has been exemplary.
William Welden (Holy Innocents): The Golden Bear senior has been a solid performer all season. He has gone sub 17:25 every race save one. Welden had a SB performance of 16:27 at Marist Tri 9/12.