2022 Georgia Middle School State XC Championships Preview

Ella Gibbs was the fastest girl at last year's race

2022 State Middle School Cross Country Championships

The 2022 State Middle School Cross Country Championships will take place this Saturday, Oct. 15, in Cochran, hosted by Bleckley County and the Runnin' Royals' parents and supporters.  This will be the 17th version of the MS state meet, started back in 2006 with 10 boys' teams and 11 girls' teams in attendance that year. As of right now, there are 120 teams and over 2,400 athletes signed up for this year's meet, with the deadline to enter being this Thursday at 12:00 noon.  This event was started back in 2006 with the intent of recognizing middle school runners throughout the state of Georgia, regardless of their school's size or affiliation and giving middle schoolers throughout the state a chance to come together and compete on the same course on the same day, basically in the geographical center of the state(only a few miles from Cochran).  The course is a fair test of what makes cross country such a great sport.  It is a course comprised of grass, dirt, some short, steep hills, some longer, more challenging hills, and some subtle slow climbing hills that can wear a runner out that goes out too fast.  This year's course will also be a little dry and dusty due the lack of rain pretty much throughout the entire state in the past few weeks, but all in all, when the dust settles, many teams and individuals will be recognized on the awards podium in front of quite a large gathering of spectators.  The weather forecast is calling for a great day of cooler temperatures and sunny weather.

Looking at the history of this meet, the number of runners who have run in the state middle school meet who went on to become some of the state's best and fastest HS runners, is amazing.  Many future Footlocker/Eastbay and Team National qualifiers have run in this meet, enough that I don't want to try to name all of them for fear of leaving some of them out.  Even though many of them were not state champions at the middle school level, it is always fun to follow runners after they leave middle school and see how their careers continue to blossom as they enter high school, and for many, to follow them on to college careers and post-college careers.  Georgia has a rich history of producing very talented distance runners year after year, with many of them getting their cross country careers started while in middle school.

Even though the course has changed several times since the meet's inception(due mainly to the size increase in the number of runners who participate), in the previous 16th years, the fastest times ever ran at this meet are 10:57 by Zack Truitt of Landmark Christian back in 2016 and 11:44 by Makena Gates of Creekview, also in 2016.  On the current course, which has been used since 2017, the fastest times ran have been 11:03 by Malachi Burnett of Creekland and 11:49 by Ella Gibbs of Bleckley County, with both times being ran last year.  With an outstanding field lined up again, maybe we will see some new course and/or meet records set, or at least scared, this year.

This year's meet will also see a revamped format of how teams are being divided up into divisions. Due to the continued growth of the meet, this year's version will have 6 divisions, ranging from a Private School Division, a Club/Unattached Division, and 4 Public School Divisions, with each public school division being based on the March 2022 FTE count as put out by the Georgia Department of Education, very similar to how high schools are divided up with the GHSA and other Private School organizations throughout the state.  Even though there will be new divisions this year, we have several teams who will be coming back this year to try to successfully defend their titles won from a year ago. Team champions from last year who are back this year include: Great Strides(girls & boys), Taylor Road(boys), Evans(girls), and Bleckley County(girls). Saturday promises to be a great day of competition, whether chasing a state title or just chasing to be the best you can be on this given day. This is what makes running so special!

Teams, or schools with individuals, entered in each division(as of Oct. 9)

Private Schools


Division 1

Division 2

Division 3

Division 4

Athens Academy

Agile Fox

ACE Char.

East Jackson



Atlanta Inter

Alpha Crush

Amana Acad.

Fannin Co.

Dawson Co.


Blessed Trinity

Atlanta TC




Coffee Co.

Fellowship Chris.

Edge RC

Bleckley Co.

Hart Co.




Great Strides


Jeff Davis



George Walton

JR Hawks

Brantley Co.

MLK, Jr.

Little Mill

E.T. Booth

Hebron Chis.

Jr. Wolfpack


Morgan Co.

Locust Grove


Landmark Chris.

Jr. Hoyas

Bryan Co

Pierce Co.

Lost Mtn.


Loganville Chris.

Mill Creek Jr. Hawks


Putnam Co.

Lumpkin Co.


North Cobb Chr.

 Run Zero 2 Hero

East Laurens


Mary Persons


St. Mary's on the Hill


Furlow Char.



Mill Creek

St. Benedict's Ep.

Heard Co.

T.J. Elder

North Hall


St. Mary's Acad.

Johnson Co.

Toombs Co.

Oconee Co.


Trinity Ch.-Sharpsburg

MacIntyre Park

SE Bulloch

Rising Star



MacIntosh Co. Ac.

Franklin Co.

S. Effingham

Richmond Hill

Woodward Ac.





Oglethorpe Co.

Vickery Creek

Taylor Road



Thomas Co.

Pulaski Co.








Chestatee Ac.  

Wayne Co.        

Social Circle

Piney Grove

West Jackson

Turner Co.

West Laurens

Lee Co.

Villa Rica

White Co.




Lake Oconee Ac.

Marion Co.