GHSA 1A Private State Meet Recap: Favorites Take Wins

The 1A boys Private race from Carrollton.

All Photos by Marc Logan - Photo Album

Meet Recaps:
1A Pub. | 1A Priv. 2A 3A 4A | 5A | 6A | 7A

1A Boys Private - Sapone and Whitefield bring it home as favorites

Lead pack early on

The 1A Private boys race is always an interesting one and almost always has a few stud individuals duking it out. Surprisingly, the race favorite did not take it out hard in this one. Joe Sapone from Holy Innocents' was content to let the race play our as there was a big pack together heading towards the mile and nobody was strung out. The lead pack had tons of the major players that you expected to be fighting for the podium, but it just wasn't supposed to be one big pack like this. 

Sapone lead wire to wire in this one

Prince, Wade, Ryan, and Golden chase Sapone halfway

As the approached the halfway, Sapone still led a tight group of boys, but it was starting to string out instead of be bunched up in a pack. Right behind Sapone were Evan Prince from Tallulah Falls and Taylor Wade from Whitefield Academy. A small gap and then there was John Ryan from Savannah Country Day and Peyton Golden From Whitefield. Another small gap led us to Jackson Scruggs of Athens Academy and Andrew Rothwell of Whitefield. These guys were closely followed by Nathan Smith from Athens Christian and Jon Durham from Deerfield-Windsor. And biding his time back in 10th place was Stafford McDaniel from Wesleyan as he watched the pack of nine string out ahead of him and he waited for his opportunity.

Wade, McDaniel, Ryan, and Rothwell finishing

The race never really broke open at any point. Eventually a top 3 would separate that included Sapone leading Golden and Prince. The rest of the top ten kind of bunched together and there wasn't much to separate them. Sapone would eventually hold on to win his first cross country state title. But the challenge was much closer than expected to be. Golden was right there with 400 to go and gave it all he could. Prince was lurking too but eventually the kick from Sapone was too great for them to handle and he won in 16:22 to Golden's 16:26 while Prince took a very strong 3rd place in 16:35. Scruggs would be the next to cross the line running a patient race to take 4th in 16:55, holding off Smith who was 5th in 16:56. Wade took 6th in 17:04 while McDaniel moved up brilliantly to take 7th in 17:06. Ryan was 8th in 17:09 and Rothwell was 9th in 17:12, giving Whitefield Academy 3 boys in the top 9 places. Rounding out the podium was Durham with a 10th place finish in 17:24.

Peyton Golden took runner up to lead Whitefield Academy to their first state title

The team battle was decided fairly early. Whitefield took the lead and never looked back, securing their first ever boys cross country state title when Riley Hugues cross the line in 18:14 for 26th place. Holy Innocents' took runner up behind the fantastic performance from Sapone, Ryan Kelley and Parker Miles who were 13th and 14th overall. Paideia managed to take 3rd place without any front runners as they were led by Zac Hilimire and Krish Leveille in 16th and 17th. Athens Academy took the final podium spot behind Scruggs' top performance.

1A Private Girls race

1A Private Girls- Joyce and Wesleyan are victorious

Browning and Brown running together

This race was much closer on the team side, but individually it played out much closer to what we expected to see happen. Early on Ellie Brewer from Hebron Christian took the lead with Cara Joyce following closely behind. Shari Brown from Landmark was in 3rd duking it out early with Brooke Browning from Hebron.

Shaylor, Lynes, Mealor, McCauley

At the Halfway very little had changed up front. It was still Brewer leading with Joyce right behind her. then a gap to Browning. And then a gap to Brown. But the rest of the top ten was beginning to materialize. They were a little strung out thanks to the quick early pace from Brewer, but everybody was still within striking distance of each other. Elizabeth Shaylor from North Cobb Christian was the first one to come through. Kendall Lynes from Savannah Christian prep was next followed closely by Lillie Mealor from First Presbyterian Day. Sarah Harrison from Athens Academy was next followed by two Paideia runners in Luna McCauley and Megan Walter. Trailing them was Elizabeth Cowley from Brookstone along with Tatum McKinnis and Reese Martin From Holy Innocents'. 

Brewer and Joyce were locked in

As they came around the two mile and headed towards the woods for the last time, Brewer and Joyce were still locked in a tight battle and it appeared to be anybody's race. The rest of the order stayed very similar except that Cowley had passed a few people during the first part of the 2nd loop. She was clearly having a good day.

Mealor, McCauley, Mckinnis, Walter

When they came out of the woods Joyce had opened up a gap on Brewer and it was growing. She used her speed to get up and down the hill faster than anybody in the race, taking the state championship in a time of 19:18. Brewer came home in 2nd place with a time of 19:30 while Browning took the bronze medal in 19:59. Brown and Shaylor held on for 4th and 5th respectively, but Cowley had moved all the way up to 6th place in a time of 20:33. Lynes was able to hang on for 7th while Mealor really had to work to hold off the kick of McCauley, Mckinnis, and Walter who finished in the 9-11 spots separated by only 1.29 seconds between the 3 of them.

Cara Joyce Interview after win

In the team battle Wesleyan was able to use their superior pack to take home the title. They didn't have anybody in the top 15, but used an 18 second 1-4 gap and 46 second 1-5 gap to take home the win with 96 points. They were led by Julie Anne Bush who placed 17th in 21:40. Landmark was runner up behind Brown's strong showing with 122 points. Paideia used McCauley and Walter's strong finishes to take 3rd place in 148 points. And overachieving was Holy Innocents' for 4th thanks to McKinnis and Martin as low sticks.