Hood and Little battling for the win at Coach Wood.
Hillgrove Twilight Girls 3200m Preview
I wonder if this thing should be renamed the Mike Pence Twilight. Anyone who lives near the city and relied on I-285 to get to Hillgrove last year may remember that Pence was visiting the city, and his crew went the wrong way around the perimeter and therefore shut down the entire city... just in time for the vast majority of us were trying to head to Hillgrove. I think most of us made it... barely. Or hey - maybe a better idea! We should just run this meet going the wrong way around the track instead! Joking... possibly?
This "meet" is set to be incredible. Many, many of the top runners in the State have elected to either continue or finish their seasons at Hillgrove seeking a 3200m PR. The weather will be incredible - around 45 degrees with very little wind and no chance of rain. When you put a bunch of fast kids on the track together in Fall weather in prime physical condition? Special things happen. I predict that tomorrow night will be truly special. Let's get to it.
Ruby Little and Caroline Hood could duke it out for the win tomorrow night. Photo by Alex Burst
Girls Feature Heat:
Similar to the boys, the girls' field is littered with talent. Featured include 4 state champions and a total of 24 (!!) top 10 finishers at the Cross Country State Championship. The vast majority of these ladies have broken 20:00 in their careers with several under 19:00. One guy's chase for glory while the rest try to run PRs and write their own stories seems to be the story in the boys' field. For the ladies? I think it's a competition of how many can break 11:00. There are a handful of ladies who have either broken it already, came close in Track last year, or showed enough prominence in XC this year to give it a go.
Grace Von Biberstein is looking to go sub 11 for the first time ever. Photo by Marc Logan.
If we look at last year's Wingfoot Night of Champions, Grace Von Biberstein's 11:07 stands as the best returner from that field. She ran away with her XC State Championship and could be racing on fresh legs. Newly crowned All-Metro Runner of the Year Ruby Little's 10:58 effort en route to her 3200m State Championship rates as second best coming into this event. She is among the most race-experienced athletes in the field and will look to use that experience in a PR effort.
Samantha McGarity is poised for a huge PR. Photo by Brian Henley.
7A Champ Samantha McGarity hasn't lost in a month and was downright dominant at State, running the fastest time of the day and showing that she's the most improved athlete among the elite from a year ago. Her career 3200m PR? 11:54. She may be seeking a near-minute chop off of that time tomorrow night. Caroline Hood of Pace Academy is another elite face in this field. She ran a blistering 17:36 at Region and backed it up with a State Championship in 2A. She has only finished 1st or 2nd all season and is another prime example of a kid who has made a huge jump. Career 3200m PR? 11:40. Emma Geaney has begun a hot streak which includes a Region championship, 3rd place finish at State, and then a PR of 18:22 for her runner-up finish at Meet of Champions. Career PR? Wait for it... 12:26. Yes, if it hasn't been painfully obvious, we are going to see some massive, massive PRs tomorrow night.
Hannah Schemmel made her debut at state. What can she do for a 3200? Photo by Marc Logan
And then there's Hannah Schemmel - the super-stud who opened up her season at the State Championships and took 3rd overall. Fighting back from an injury, Schemmel is no stranger to the big time, and her career PR of 10:25 automatically catapults her into contention regardless of the 'rust' she may be experiencing. RunningLane seems imminent for Schemmel, so it's no surprise that she'd seek out a stud field like this as a tune up for Garmin's attempt at the *real* National Cross Country Championships. Those with short memories may have forgotten about Schemmel, or thought she graduated, but she's poised to roar back. Expect her in contention early to remind everyone of who she is.
These races are going to be split up by SKILL not gender, so keep that in mind as you prepare to hopefully come and support these kids. TIME is the name of the game tomorrow night. Fingers crossed that we're in for some fireworks in Powder Springs.