2019 2A Boys state video
(by Coach Anthony Foster)
Boys Team Breakdown
Pace- The Knights from Pace have been comfy at the top of the rankings all year. They have 5 runners that can finish in the top 10 overall, and their top 2 both will be in contention for the individual title. Pace finished 2nd in a stacked field early in the year at Orthopedic, posting a team average of 17:17, which is a lower team average than all teams in AA except Lovett have posted all year. They are experienced on the course and with that low scoring potential, it is Pace's race to lose on Saturday.
Lovett- The men from Lovett may be the only team with a shot to pry the trophy away from the Knights on Saturday. They only trailed Pace by 5 points at their region meet, but it was a small field of only 3 teams. They regularly post lower 1-5 splits than Pace and it is that split and depth at 4 and 5 that is the key to Lovett snagging the title for themselves. They will need their top 2 runners to stay in contention with the Blahas at the front of the race, and they will need their 4 and 5 to distance themselves from their counterparts in order to upset the Knights.
The Podium Contenders
Banks County- The Leopards have sat at #3 all year. They have a young team that seem very consistent, which has shown in their team average that hovers around 18:00-18:15 most races. They have seen a lot of shuffling amongst their 2-6 which either shows their depth or hints at some inconsistency. We will see which it is on the hills Saturday
Jeff Davis- As always, the Yellow Jackets are coming on strong late in the season. They may not have the low sticks of the teams around them, but they offset that with a tight pack which is normally separated by less than 90 seconds. The Yellowjackets will need that pack to stay near the sharp end of the race in order to keep their score low.
Oglethorpe County- The defending champs have been somewhat hot and cold this season. Early on they seemed to be on par with where they left off, but as the season progressed we saw times inconsistent with what we have come to expect from the Patriots. But they are a championship team and they will look to become diamonds under pressure and excel when the stakes are the highest. They have all the pieces needed with potential low sticks and a strong pack. Look for them to be near the front early.
Bremen- The darkhorse candidate... The Blue Devils are an x-factor. They have run some great team averages on the more well-known courses across the state, but when they line up against other AA teams, they seem vulnerable. They ran a quick team average of 18:07 at their region championship that would lead most to believe they are ready to challenge for the 3rd position on the podium but were bested by Banks, Vidalia, and Bleckley at Orthopedic earlier this year. Will Bremen live up to the hype? They have a frontrunner that can challenge the top 10, but their result will be decided by their pack at the 4 and 5 positions.
Top 10 Contenders- Bleckley, Vidalia, Union, Dade, Fannin, Pepperell.
Boys Individual Breakdown
Edward Blaha (Pace)- Edward is the leader of what was the #1 ranked team all-class. He has not run a race slower than 15:40 in the past month and is coming off a blazing 15:20 at Coach Wood. He has proved powerful on the hills, running a 16:39 for 6th in the championship race at Orthopedic, and has been duking it out with the best in the state all season. He will be the individual to beat on Saturday.
Simon Schabort (Model)- Simon was 5th as a freshman last year at the state championship and has continued to improve in 2020. He ran in the championship race at Orthopedic in September and finished 11th in an impressive 16:52. He has finished no worse than 3rd since Ortho and will be able to challenge the Blahas at the front of the race. Does he go all-out for the win or run more conservative to lock up a top 3 position?
George Blaha (Pace)- George has seen his fair share of tough competition this year. He has run Coach Wood, Asics, and Ortho, placing well at all of them. He knows one of the other individual favorites well, down to what he eats for breakfast and what sock he puts on first on race morning. As only one of 3 runners in AA that have broken into the 15's this year, he knows what it takes to hold a position at the front of the race. If any of the other favorites struggles, look for George Blaha to try and capitalize.
Joe Urbanowicz (Lovett)- As Lovett's top runner, Joe has been facing tough competition all year. He split the Blaha's at his region meet, running a 15:46 en route to 2nd place. He has shown steady progression all season and will look to be in peak shape come Saturday. Joe is at the disadvantage of not having run at Ortho, but he will look to his experience from 2019 as both motivation to place much higher and as assurance of the progress he has made this season.
Other Notables- Luke Churchwell (Bleckley), Buck Ledford (Banks), Grant Thompson (Pace), Patrick Pitts (Lovett), Carl Spivey (Bremen), Robert Mallis (Pace), Luke McGarity (Oglethorpe), Tom Vincent (Pepperell).