(all photos and interview by Marc Logan)
The 2020 GA HS Meet of Champions was a great success as top-notch runners from all across Georgia congregated together at the Real Church cross country course (formerly Heritage Christian Church) just south of Peachtree City on Saturday morning. MileSplit Georgia shot a video of each race that was posted Saturday evening.
MD Don Livingston sent a shout out to everyone post-race, "It was a great day of racing this morning, cool temperatures, exciting competition, and some fast times! I got a chance to talk with many of you throughout the morning. I know most of us were just thankful to have our teams run together and then getting to race was even better. To top it off, our athletes got to compete at Region, State, and Meet of Champions and run some fast times! Thanks to each of you who make this race competitive and fun by deciding to race after to state! We look forward to another great meet next year. In addition to the photos you see will see on MileSplit Georgia, Marc Logan went around to all the teams to get photos.
Championship Girls Race
Marist Girls Team Champions
The race of the meet came from the girl's side as it was jam-packed with team state champs 7A Marietta, 6A Pope, and 4A Marist and 2A Pope; as well as runner-ups 7A Hillgrove, 5A Blessed Trinity, and 4A Jefferson. Some pretty intense racing was happening beyond the leading individuals, as only 21 points separated six squads. Marist took the win by four points over Marietta led by freshman sensation Ruby Little's 11th place effort of 18:31. It was the rubber match for Marietta and Hillgrove as this was the third consecutive race they had squared off. The Blue Devils came out on top by three points as senior, Betsy Gordon led the charge. Mill Creek had a good race placing a strong fourth, with a sixth runner tiebreaker separating Blessed Trinity and South Forsyth.
With no Foot Locker or NXN to compete at in this COVID-19 year, unless one is racing next Saturday over in Huntsville (AL) at the RunningLane National Championship
, Meet of Champions would be the final race of 2020. Harvard bound Makena Gates of Creekview took the lead and held off a strong group throughout the race taking the checkered flag in a time of 17:59 capping off a great high school XC career. Twenty girls went sub 19:00 making for a great race up front.
Makena Gates leads the race on loop two.
Gates digs in at the end clocking a 17:59 for the win.
Sophomore Carmel Yonas of South Forsyth struck for 2nd overall in 18:05.
Sophie Boice of Pope placed 3rd overall at 18:09
Caylee Wagner of North Hall made the Trojan faithful proud, finishing 4th at 18:14.
Simone Rojas of Evans is now the heir apparent next season in 6A placing 5th at 18:17.
Katherine Law of Jefferson was a couple of strides back in 6th posting an 18:18.
8th grader Clodagh O'Bryant came back strong after not finishing at MS State, winning the Open race in 19:25
Top 15 Girls Championship Race
2020 Girls Champion Makena Gates (r)
Boys Championship Race
Seven runners are engaged on loop 2 of the race.
The boy's championship race got the day underway at 8:30 with perfect conditions to race in as a bonus. There was a solid field of teams in the field including state champs 4A Chestatee, 2A Lovett, as well as runner-ups the likes of 5A Decatur, 4A Marist, 2A Pace along with 'big boy' squads Norcross and Milton. The Blue Devils of Norcross were a strong 3rd at 7A state, and their 1-4 core was humming along taking the team title with 110 points. Top runner Miguel Schlicht was in the hunt for an individual crown finishing 4th to spark the win. Luke Gaddis bounced back strong from the state meet last week where he placed 2nd, taking the individual title in a winning time of 15:31 leading the War Eagles to the MOC team title. Pace and Lovett went at it again, with Pace getting a measure of redemption from State last week besting Lovett by one point!
Luke Gaddis of Chestatee bounced back from State winning the Championship boys race in 15:31
Junior, Edward Blaha of Pace was overall runner-up going 15:35.
Christian Gonzalez of Decatur (65) placed 3rd overall posting a time of 15:35
Miguel Schlicht of Norcross at 15:36 (c) holds off Avery Jaynes from SE Bulloch (15:37)
Hayden Marshall of Milton HS placed 6th overall at 15:38.
Bryson Gates of Creekview HS (Makena's little bro) won the boys Open race in 16:18
Norcross Boys Team Champions
Top 15 Boys Championship Race