2022 Atlanta Classic Meet Preview

The Varsity Boys race at the Atlanta Classic last year

Atlanta Classic Preview

25 teams have been selected to compete in the "Purple Race" of this year's installment of the Atlanta Classic - a race held at historic Clinton Farms.  It's crazy to think that we are already within 2 weeks of 'Region Play' for some squads, and this could be the final race for some of these teams before their Region championships.  For others, it's another high-powered meet before laying it all out at a meet like Coach Wood to test their team's mettle.  Regardless of the merit, the 2022 Atlanta Classic is yet another competitive meet which features multiple strong teams.

Girls Team  

This girls' team championship seems like it's pretty wide open.  These teams really don't match up overly well; some have stud power at the top but not as much depth at 5 while others have great depth at 5 but not quite as much stud power.  This appears to be basically a 5 team battle the way I see it:  Walton, South Forsyth, Pope, Decatur, and McIntosh - in some order (admittedly, that order is just off the virtual... seemed like the fairest way to do it).  We'll start with Walton.  These ladies are a big podium threat in 7A, and while they don't feature anyone who seems to be able to take down the individual race, they've got great depth.  Daniela Delgado, Mallory Old, and Ella Bailey will lead the troops here.  South Forsyth will be led by household names (and sisters) Carmel and Isabel Yonas.  South Forsyth is another 7A podium threat, and that'll ride largely on these 2 establishing their dominance.  Both can do some major damage in the individual hunt, too.  Pope has been a little streaky this season but could be ready to catch fire at a critical time.  Charlotte Dunn and Josie Hutchinson appear poised and ready to lead it for these Greyhounds, but they may be missing ace Addison Adair who really makes a big difference (obviously); if she's out, then I think that takes Pope out of consideration.  Decatur's Anna Blaich and Gabriella Malerba feature heavily in the individual race and should pace their squad as they look to stamp themselves as a State favorite similar to their guys.  McIntosh's ladies have seen themselves among the all-class elites from time to time in recent memory, and the likes of Kirsten Rose and Katerina Soroka have been doing great things for McIntosh.  It's unfortunate that one of their best runners in only in 8th grade and needs to wait her turn, but this is still a competitive squad who will try and see about finishing near the top.  And then there's Midtown who could finally be realizing their potential thanks to the anticipated return of stud Jamie Marlowe.  If she can get in there and help out Cary Schroeder?  Maybe Midtown makes a nice splash in this meet Saturday.

Girls Individual

This could be a sisterly affair as the Yonas girls Carmel and Isabel feature at the top of the list.  Both are easy top 5-10 threats at State, and both have had pretty strong seasons - not that that surprises anyone.  Look for them at the top of things tomorrow.  Can Jamie Marlowe of Midtown discover some magic in her (anticipated) debut?  Looking at her recent past, one would think she could if she's at 100%... it just remains to be seen as far as what condition she's in at this point.  If Addison Adair of Pope toes the line and she's in good condition, she should be a threat, too, but as of now, she's not on the entries.  The Walton trio of Ella Bailey, Daniela Delgado and Mallory Old could make things interesting in this field, especially if some of the on-paper favorites either don't show or aren't in top condition.  If Decatur's Gabriella Malera and Anna Blaich, both of whom have sub 19:00 runs to their names, can threaten early - can they find themselves close enough to threaten the Yonas sisters?  Emily Cragin (Archer), Charlotte Dunn (Pope), Morgan Grace Sheffield (Denmark), and, if back to 100%, Brookstone's Kiley Murphy, could all make waves in this wide open field.

Boys Team

Yup.  Another Carrollton sighting.  After a fairly narrow victory over rival Lambert at ASICS last week, Carrollton gets out there again to attempt to continue their dominating season.  They are projected to score 5 in the top 20 to walk away with another 'dub', and the likes of Noah Martinson, Will Jennings, Hagan Russell, Daniel Neill, and Joshua Sipes will try and ensure that that happens.  They must be the most battle tested team in the field, so look for them to be near the front early and often.  Decatur is a squad who won't let the Trojans just claim a victory.  Do they have a Trojan Horse style plan to take out the favorite?  The trio of William Carlton, Jake Westing, and Zakariye Abdulahi will take their swings at Carrollton's best 3, and then it'll just be a matter of if Decatur's 4 and 5 can get it done.  6A rival Pope is also squarely in the mix.  The Greyhounds feature heavily among the upper echelon and should be led by Benny Brenneman, Carter Spohn, Davis Drake, Dermot Maloney, and William Wright.  The reigning Cobb County champions could be tightening up the reigns and running past the rest of the competition tomorrow.  Denmark, Walton, Chapel Hill, McIntosh, and North Paulding are other ranked teams in their respective classes in this field, so look for them to try and erase some of this chalk to get a trophy.

Boys Individual

Ben Bergey of South Forsyth hasn't been seen in a little while, but he certainly comes in as a favorite considering his past pedigree.  His most recent performance, 15:35 at Southern Showcase, was certainly impressive, but it still leaves a little bit on the table for him to consume.  Remember, we're talking about a 4:14/9:16 kid here; if he's 100% on Saturday, he's going to be really tough to contend with.  Carrollton's Noah Martinson is probably reading this and rolling his eyes.  "Uhh... I beat Bergey by 20 seconds at Southern Showcase, you dumb buffoon...".  And he would be correct (on both points).  Martinson has put together a truly elite season, and he could be setting himself up to make an individual title run at State.  He's new to this level, but it appears he's here to stay.  He's going to be tough to beat tomorrow.  Will Carlton of Decatur won Jekyll convincingly but then was a bit shaky at Carrollton Ortho the next week.  He hasn't been seen since, so hopefully he's back to 100%, and if he is, he could be a bit of a threat tomorrow.  The 4:12/9:20 Decatur stud has a lot to prove down the stretch of this season, and he could make for a huge problem for the rest of the field.  Will Jennings of Carrollton beat Carlton head-to-head at Carrollton Ortho, so by default, he should be taken seriously.  Steven McCartney (Archer), Joseph Minecci (Walton), Benny Brennema and Carter Spohn (Pope), Jake Westing (Decatur), and Ethan Bridge (Denmark) are other names to keep an eye on.

Clinton Farms is a beautiful, history filled venue.  It's a great spot for XC fans, so if your Saturday is open, head over to Douglas County!  Chapel Hill does a great job hosting this meet, so give their staff a nod when you see them running all over the place to make this meet a success.