2021 Atlanta Classic Meet Preview

The girls championship race at the 2020 Atlanta Classic

2021 Atlanta Classic Preview

by Brian Henley
As this week's rainy weather begins to fade away, we are prepping for this weekend's 11th Annual Atlanta Classic XC Meet. With a total of 40 participating schools and nearly 1400 athletes, we are sure to witness some incredible times at Clinton Farms Nature Preserve in Douglas County, Ga. 

The championship races will consist of the top 20 teams that have the fastest team averages of all the teams that have entered the race. Only 8 runners per team will be competing in this race. Due to school breaks, and athletes traveling out of town, some team won't be running their top runners; nonetheless, there will most definitely be fierce competition and extremely fast times.

On the boy's side of things, the top three ranked teams include Marietta with a projected third place finish. The Blue Devils earned as team Average of 16:13 at their most recent meet, Great American XC Festival in Cary, NC. They were led by senior James May who ran a blazing time of 15:16 and then followed by his teammates, a promising Junior named Jared Fortenberry who clocked in at 15:54. However, May is not entered for the Atlanta Classic this weekend which would have made him one of the top contenders for individual first-place finish. Thus, Fortenberry will lead the Blue Devils this go-round. These boys are sure to heat up the competition this weekend; you don't want to miss these Blue Devils in action. The second ranked team is one of Douglas County's very own, the Alexander cougars. Alexander hosted its very successful annual Asics Invitational Meet Last Saturday that had an incredible turnout. This weekend, the cougars will be led by junior Tyler Goode who currently has a quick personal record of 16.30. Alexander is extremely familiar with the course; so, their well-equipped squad will be sure to bring it. However, based on the list of entries they will not be running their top funner, Kaden Harries who has run a 15:51 this season. Lastly, the number one ranked team is Decatur High School. The bulldogs have 4 boys who have a personal record this season all under 16:30. The gun goes off at 10:15AM for the Varsity Boys Championship Race and it will be a fast one.

The South Forsyth Eagles have their two top runners projected for a 1-2 finished based on this season's PRs. Junior Ben Bergey has clocked in a 15:21 this season for the Eagles and he is closely followed by his teammate, Nate Verska who has a personal record of 15:30. You don't want to miss these boys fly to the finish line. Marietta's junior, Fortenberry is seeded for a third place finish because of his personal record of 15:36.

The Spartans from Mountain Brook, Alabama will be joining us this weekend and their presence will be known quick, fast, and in a hurry. The speedy Junior Reagan Riley will be the number one contender for the top individual finish for the championship girls race. Riley leads the Lady Spartans team with an impressive personal record of 17:27. Following closely behind Riley are 4 of her teammates who all have a personal record that is faster than 19:50. The Lady Spartans of Mountain Brook will be sure to give the audience one incredible race to witness. The Lady Cougars of Alexander will be representing the Metro-Atlanta area at the Atlanta Classic this weekend as they are the number two ranked girls team of the meet. Alexander's top 4 runners all have a personal record this season under 22 minutes. They will be a team to beat with their top runner, Brooklyn Crabtree running a 19:11 this XC season. The North Atlanta Warriors will put the 'hot' in 'Hot-lanta' this weekend as they bring the heat with their top 8 runners. The Lady Warriors top three runners all have a personal record under 19:30 with the two lead ladies running in the 18's. These girls are nothing to play with. This championship girls race will be an awesome race to watch, you do not want to miss this. The gun goes off for these ladies at 10:45AM.

Of course Mountain Brook's Reagan Riley will be the number one contender for the first place finish. However, the Lady Eagles of South Forsyth will be led by Junior, Carmel Yonas who has clocked in a soaring time of 17:55. Therefore, Riley will still be pushed up there in the front assuming Yonas will go after it like she always does. Also on the radar for a top-three finish is Woodland Cartersville's Rylee Evans who is a senior who has run a 18:24 this season. This will undoubtedly be a speedy race for the championship girls on a fast course. The Atlanta Classic is in for a treat.

Because of the number of entries for the Atlanta Classic, the Varsity races were divided by school size. Kicking off at 9:15AM will be the Large School Varsity Boys which includes schools in region 5A, 6A, and 7A. This race will include 8 runners per team. Therefore, if a 7A school is competing in the Championship race, they will place their next 8 runners in the Large School Varsity race that come after the ones who will compete in Championship race. The Large School Varsity Girls race will start at 9:45AM

The Small School Varsity Race will include schools from regions 4A ,3A, 2A, and 1A. The boys' gun will go off at 11:10AM. The gun for the girls will go off 11:40AM.