2020 Georgia HS Meet of Champions Preview

2019 Champ John Higinbotham

The 5th annual GA HS Meet of Champions race will feature most of the best cross country runners in the entire state racing against each other in an all-classes type format. The weather forecast is for a near-perfect day just south of Peachtree City, sunny, with a low of 54 degrees at dawn, highs in the mid-60s, with a little 6mph breeze from the east.  It will be interesting to see how the rural area's runners do on a course much flatter than what they faced at State'. MileSplit Georgia's Matt Almand will be onsite shooting video of all the races and Marc Logan of Flash Photography will be shooting race photos, a gallery, and the awards ceremony, Wow... an actual Awards Ceremony!!

Course Map at Real Church

3A Champ Justin Wachtel from Mary Persons HS

Boys: Another great field has been assembled as it has been since 2016. As can be expected, a few of our Elite runners (Kamari Miller- The Beast) will be resting up for the Running Lane National Championships. GA HS Meet of Champions is building up to be a great race up front, with 3A champ Justin Wachtel of Mary Persons seeking his first MOC title, future UVA teammate Andrew Jones from North Hall, 4A champ Davis Potts of North Oconee, Luke Gaddis from Chestatee, Will Bray of Brookwood, Avery Jaynes from Southeast Bulloch, Matthew Fernando of Westminster, 2A champ Edward Blaha of Pace Academy, 5A champ Christian Gonzalez from Decatur, and A Public champ Brandon Martin from Commerce.

All bets are off at Vegas now on picking a team champ. As always, there will be some team and individuals who are resting for another race, decided their season is over, or have moved on to a Winter sport like wrestling or basketball. If the top teams coming into this meet have at least 5 of their top 6 racing Saturday this could be a blast... Chestatee was incredible in the 4A race at State beating Marist. Decatur pushed St. Pius X to the brink in 5A. Blessed Trinity was one runner away from taking a spill making the 5A race really interesting. Pace Academy has a chance to redeem themselves after a close loss to Lovett in 2A. And, let's not discount 7A Norcross. If one looks at the full-results merge HERE you will understand how insane the boy's race could become (if everyone runs full-strength)

  • of the top 30 boys teams invited (only Marietta, St. Pius X, Harrison, Denmark, Parkview, Walton, and Lambert are not coming)
  • of the top 25 individuals invited (only Zack Truitt, Joe Sapone, and Gabriel Bowman are not coming)

Makena Gates of Creekview is the top runner in the field.

Girls: After sitting out 2019 MOC, Makena Gates of Creekview is primed to take the crown Saturday after posting the fastest time at GHSA state last weekend at 18:43. It would be a fitting way to close out her Georgia HS XC career, after coming so close to qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals twice. Looking to challenge Gates could be 7A champ Carmel Yonas of South Forsyth, 7A runner-up Ashley Thompson from Gainesville HS, 3A champ Caylee Wagner from North Hall, A Private champ Kiley Murphy of Brookstone (Columbus), 4A champ Katherine Law of Jefferson HS, 4A runner-up Marist frosh Ruby Little or Katie Hamfeldt of Blessed Trinity.

I'm not going to go out on a limb and speculate on what teams will contend for titles as some runners on squads have concluded their season or moved on to another sport like basketball. But Marist, Blessed Trinity, Hillgrove, South Forsyth, and Pope figure to be very much in the thick of it if they have most of their core runners competing. Blessed Trinity will be missing their top 2 runners in Kelly Ann Sutterfield (ankle) and recent Colorado Buffs' signee Hannah Miniutti, who has shutdown XC, taking a break to refocus on the 2021 track season. 

  • of the top 30 girls teams (only St Pius X Lambert, Milton, West Forsyth, Parkview, Wesleyan are not coming) On a side note- Hannah Miniutti and Kelly Ann Sutterfield will be out for Blessed Trinity.
  • of the top 25 individuals ( only Allie Wardle, Brooke Browning, Hayden Puett, Claudi Gatti, Rylee Evans are not coming)
  • 164 boys
    159 girls
  • Almost 300 runners are entered into the HS Open races. 
Race Schedule:
8:30 am Boys Meet of Champions- invitation only (no cost)

9:15 am Girls Meet of Champions- invitation only (no cost)
10:00 am Boys - Open Race -$10 per runner-  Senior, Juniors, Soph, Fresh & 8th graders
10:30 am Girls - Open Race- $10 per runner- Senior, Juniors, Soph, Fresh & 8th graders

Exclusive MOC shirts to all invited athletes
Awards at 11:15 am after the 2 MOC Open Races

  • We will have an awards ceremony with Social Distancing
  • Top 20 individuals
  • Top 3 teams