7A State Preview: Can Marietta And Carrollton Get It Done?

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2022 7A State Championships Preview

It's that time again.  It's time we take to the hills of Carrollton.  As the athletes pass by the various playground equipment of Carrollton Elementary School, I'm sure thoughts of childhood and "I'd much rather go down that slide than run up this hill" pass through their tired minds.  Glory.  Defeat.  Anguish.  Triumph.  Those of us who have been around for a while have seen it all, and it's time for more memories to be made.  It's time for the 2022 State Championships.


Who will win the Georgia 7A Girls Team Title?

Girls Team

The Marietta / Harrison rivalry on the girls' side has been a fun thing to behold over the last couple of years, and this year, they're once again the top 2 teams entering State.  Marietta has held the advantage lately, but there's no reason to count out the Hoyas either.  Harrison, after all, did open the season at #1.  It doesn't appear there are any other teams in the field who can touch these 2, so it's yet another Cobb County duel here between these rival schools separated by only 10,000m.

Marietta: Season Rankings (oldest to newest):  2, 1, 1, 1, 1

This Marietta team is really, really good - and they are not afraid to swing for the fences and risk falling on their swords; just watch the ASICS video where, early on, they have their entire top 5 inside the top 8 or so.  They are fearless, and they run like they are possibly trying to accomplish some big things after State.  They can't look past the hills of Carrollton of course, but this team is among the better teams we've seen in GA in recent memory.  When you've got 5 at 18:50 or faster?  Yeah... good luck.  Oh, and only 1 of them is a senior... guess they'll have to say goodbye to grandma Kristal McQueen and go keep winning next year.  Looking at Region - Maddie Jones (18:27), Mary Nesmith (18:27), Nora Hart (18:44), McQueen (18:47), and Colette DePasquale (18:50) - these ladies are the favorites entering State, but it wouldn't be any fun if it was truly *that* easy...

HarrisonSeason Rankings:  1, 2, 2, 2, 2

The Hoyas, runners up to Marietta last year, look to be in the same position this year but do have something that Marietta doesn't - and that's the firepower of one Samantha McGarity, the defending State Champion and current Region champion.  For Harrison to have any chance here, she needs to put as many points between her and Marietta's top runner as possible (which, admittedly, probably won't be too many).  Harrison is actually quite competitive through 4 runners, but where they run into trouble is the ever-critical #5 where there was over a 1 minute gap from #4.  This is mostly due to an anomaly in Kate Curtis's Region race though - so if that can be fixed, then hey, they've got a shot.  Look for McGarity, Curtis, Lidia Longo, Peyton Reeves, and Angelina Villamar to attempt to press up and pull off the upset.

Lambert: Season Rankings:  3, 7, 10, 5, 3

There's admittedly a sizable gap after the top 2 teams, but the podium has room for 4 teams... and honestly, any of the remaining top 10 teams *could*, in theory, find their way on here.  Evidence?  Look at Lambert.  They started the season at #3, slid all the way to #10, and then climbed their way back up to #3.  The Longhorns have been all over the place this season and have been short-handed some, but they saved their best for last as they slid past region rival South Forsyth to claim the Region 6 title by 2 points.  The senior duo of Bella Cammarota and Isabelle Garahan have been lights out over the last month and finished 2nd and 3rd at Region.  Add to this a rapidly improving freshman in Kenley Adams, and you've got a Lambert squad poised to perform their best when it matters.  They could run into trouble at 4-5 though; while this supporting cast has improved, a near-2:00 gap from 3 to 5 may expand on a tougher course which could spell doom for the Longhorns.

Walton: Season Rankings:  7, 3, 4, 4, 4

Region 5 Champion Walton has been in podium contention since the halfway point of the season.  They had one of the easiest draws in all of 7A in terms of their region, so perhaps they're better rested, too.  They put their whole top 4 under 20 at Region with a 51s split between 1-5.  The more important stat here is their 9th place overall finish at Coach Wood though, supplanting rivals Lambert, Brookwood, and Hillgrove.  Walton may not have a title contender (although Ella Bailey could be a top 10 threat), but they're still plenty strong through 5.  Look for Daniela Delgado, Mallory Old, Emma Jow, and Nicole Delgado for assistance.

South Forsyth: Season Rankings:  4, 5, 5, 3, 5

South Forsyth, based on recent results, seems to be the next best team in the field.  Led by the seemingly immortal Yonas sisters, South Forsyth has seen an improving supporting cast which has contributed to their podium prospects down the stretch of the season.  Carmel Yonas and Isabel Yonas, as usual, lead this squad and are both top 10 threats with Carmel being a title contender.  After these 2 are Molly Hanlon, Caroline Turner, and Paige Harden - all of whom have run well at times this season and were a little shaky at times this season.  This, though, is the story of every team ranked below #2 in this deep 7A field.  If SF is money through 5, they could be hoisting the 3rd place trophy in Carrollton.

Brookwood: Season Rankings:  5, 4, 3, 6, 6

The Broncos won the Region 4 championship over rival Parkview and are yet another team in the trophy hunt.  Mainstays Allie Wardle and Macy Felton have done the lion's share for this squad, but let's not underestimate the remaining scoring 5.  Jillian Rovie, Trinity Thurman, and Lauren Thisdale have done their jobs to keep the Broncos alive, but where these chasers fall in the huge pack will determine their fate.  They may have a better 1-2 punch than several other teams in contention here, but it all depends on where in the 'bubble' the remaining 3 finish.  I know I sound like a broken record (and I will for the rest of the teams, too...), but this team is just as good as any past the top 2 depending on the day.

Hillgrove: Season Rankings:  9, 7, NR, 7, 7

Hillgrove has had an interesting season.  They opened up solidly, then went through a small stretch where they didn't run complete squads (for reasons unknown to me), and then returned to prominence.  Their ever-strong region featuring the 2 favorites doesn't do the Hawks any favors, but I do still wonder if being battle tested leading into State is a good thing.  The team likely was in a little bit of disarray following the coaching change but clearly have responded well.  In any other reason, these performances hold up very well:  Reese Terza (19:02), Yolanda Brooks (19:23), Talia Brown (19:35), Gabriela Osornio (19:42), and Meghan Flanagan (20:20).  There's a sizable gap after 5, so they'll all need to be on, but if healthy?  They can surprise some people.  It shouldn't really be a surprise; there are plenty of returners on this squad from last year's 3rd place finishing team, and I'm sure they haven't just forgotten about that success.

North Gwinnett: Season Rankings:  NR, 9, 7, 8, 8

The Bulldogs of North Gwinnett got off to a slow start (likely just due to being away from some of the bigtime meets early on), but they are a squad with some depth, and depth could play a huge factor here.  #1 Tori Meyer features as an easy top 10 threat, likely more, and has just been pummeling her way up the individual rankings this season.  There has been a bit of flipping around with the remaining supporting cast for North, but if we look at their best race of the season, ASICS, we see some strong potential for a great State race.  Meyer was 10th in 18:19 in this race; her supporting cast?  Kate Lewis (19:46), Aurora Streleckis (20:35), Avery Sams (20:35), and Caroline Smith (20:40).  Given they'll have had 5 weeks from this performance tells me that North can move up a bit if they're on.

Milton: Season Rankings:  NR, NR, 6, 10, 9

Similar to the boys, Milton's ladies ran lights out at ASICS and then have maintained their status as a top 10 team.  Milton will set out to prove that ASICS wasn't an anomaly, and while their region is probably the 2nd toughest in 7A, they only lost to Lambert by 10 and South Forsyth by 8.  Farrah Frith didn't race until ASICS which was likely a nice kickstart to this team.  Sydney Anderson, Ella Grace Malcom, Calista Cacciatore, and Emmaline Kelley support this team and will try to re-establish the grit that got them ranked all the way up to #6 following ASICS.

Parkview: Season Rankings:  6, 8, 9, NR, 10

Rounding out the top 10 is Parkview - a team that debuted at #6 and has been in the hunt since but, like many, has struggled to have all 5 on at the same time.  Ace Haley Primm has looked more like her normal self as the season has worn on, and teammate Citlali Diaz had a strong region performance.  The fate of the Panthers lies in their 3-5.  They're solid through 6, but can they all run well at the same time?  Keep an eye on Aubrey Bailey, Zhari Maxineau, Jordan Seymour, and Hiyab Gebreyohannes to see if Parkview can make up some ground to regain their opening #6 slot.

Other teams to consider include West Forsyth, Carrollton, Richmond Hill, Norcross, and Mill Creek


Who will win the Georgia 7A Girls Individual Title?

Girls Individual:

Samantha McGarity (Harrison):

Defending champion Samantha McGarity needs no formal introduction.  The defending State Champion blitzed the field last year and will look to do it again as a junior.  She's got 3 victories to her name in Pickens, Cobb, and Region, and has fared very well against 7A competition this season.  Her only notable losses though are to her biggest rival and also a State Champion when she was a sophomore...

Carmel Yonas (South Forsyth)

This could be an epic slugfest between these 2.  Yonas, the 2020 State Champ, was beaten handily last year by McGarity at State but has since beaten her twice - at Coach Wood and at Wingfoot.  She lost to McGarity in the opening weekend though, making this a pretty fierce rivalry that could lead itself to a head come Friday, 11/4.  Both of these 2 have done a great job of beating each other up this season, and BOTH are State Champions!  Which one will get to claim themselves as a two-time champ?

Maddie Jones (Marietta)

Maddie Jones of Marietta has finished in the top 10 in every single race she's entered in, with two 9th place finishes at Coach Wood and ASICS.  She has consistently been among the best runners not just in 7A but in Georgia and was just outside the top 10 last year; she surely will want a medal this time around, and she's an easy top 3-5 threat given her experience and consistency.

Bella Cammarota and Isabelle Gaharan (Lambert)

I've decided to put these 2 together given that their most recent performances are basically... well, together.  Cammarota opened up the season as the surefire #1 for Lambert (and even owns a victory over Maddie Jones at ASICS) but has been beaten by teammate Isabelle Garahan the last 2 meets - Coach Wood and Region.  Both of these ladies are big time top 10 threats with a strong possibility of contending for top 5, too.  It might be a little too crowded to get both of them in there, but either way - this gives Lambert a really good 1-2 punch to start out their day.

Tori Meyer (North Gwinnett)

When you look at the career of Tori Meyer, you see someone who has made one of the biggest jumps of anyone in 7A.  Meyer was 65th at State last year and only 8th at Region... this year?  She's a region champion, she was 10th at ASICS, and she was 12th at Coach Wood - easily defeating athletes that smoked her last year.  I think everyone besides Carmel Yonas and Samantha McGarity is fair game for Meyer at State.  Anything top 10 I would assume she'd be thrilled with, but don't be surprised if she's just a little higher.

Mary Nesmith, Kristal McQueen, Nora Hart (Marietta)

... when your team has FOUR girls who could conceivably find themselves in the top 10, you're really good.  All 4 of these girls have shown glimpses this season of being top 10 material.  Nesmith was 11th at Coach Wood and 17th at ASICS... McQueen was 9th at State last year and 14th at ASICS this year... Hart was 17th at NXR last year and 18th place at Coach Wood this year.  Like, really?  These 3 ladies, in addition to teammate Maddie Jones, have the potential to really make a statement.  All of them are fair game for top 10 at State.

Peyton Reeves and Lidia Longo (Harrison)

I didn't have these 2 on my radar for top 10 at State until I saw their region performances.  It's very obvious that these girls want to beat Marietta, and they were actually able to get past McQueen and Hart mentioned earlier.  If these 2 are saving the best for last, then maybe the top 10 places include half or more athletes from these 2 teams?  Hard to say of course - but Longo at 18:40 and Reeves at 18:42 are 2 very strong performances to have when entering the State Championships.

Isabel Yonas (South Forsyth)

Yonas hasn't quite been as sharp this season compared to last season, but don't let that fool you; she runs Carrollton very, very well - as evidenced by her 9th place finish in 2020 and her 6th place finish in 2021.  Don't get me wrong; I'm certainly not trashing someone who got 20th at Coach Wood and 12th at Wingfoot... I guess I've just been spoiled by great performances by the Yonases over the years.  Rest assured though - the Yonases are legendary when it comes to Carrollton.  Be prepared to see her nudging her way forward.

Other ladies that will be looking to mix it up in the top 10 include Allie Wardle and Macy Felton (Brookwood), Haley Primm (Parkview), Colette DePasquale (Marietta), Emily Rodriguez (Norcross), Ella Bailey (Walton), Reese Terza (Hillgrove), Evelyn Schlitz, and Jewell Wells (Mill Creek)


Who will win the Georgia 7A Boys Team Title?

Boys Team

Carrollton: Season Rankings (oldest to newest):  1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Anyone paying attention knew that Carrollton was coming on and coming on strong.  While they weren't turning any heads in the Fall, a super strong Track season thrusted them into the mainstream.  Especially once this season was underway (following a dominant showing at Pickens), it became quite apparent:  The Carrollton Trojans are really, really good.  And they've got homefield advantage.  Aside from a single blemish against Westminster (interestingly at Carrollton Orthopedic), Carrollton has gone undefeated against Georgia competition and hasn't lost to a 7A squad yet.  Lambert pulled to within 15 at ASICS and only averaged 3s slower, so they're not invincible, but this is a really good team, and again - we can't overstate how important the homefield advantage is here.  Noah Martinson has consistently been the 'top dog' here, but a strong supporting cast of Will Jennings, Hagan Russell, Joshua Sipes, and Daniel Neill have kept Carrollton atop the 7A rankings the entire season.  Can they hang on to the top spot?  Mill Creek was #1 all season last year and got it done; let's see if Carrollton can do the same!

West Forsyth: Season Rankings:  7, 8, 8, 4, 2

West Forsyth's 2nd half of their season (really on both sides) has been very impressive.  A team not expected to do overly well - at least by those on the outside looking in - has quickly turned into not just a podium threat but perhaps more?  It needs to be noted that yes, WF won Region 6, but Lambert was down a couple - so we shouldn't be getting ahead of ourselves.  Either way - the point remains:  West Forsyth is likely the most improved team in the field from August until now.  Led by Diego Fernandes who has been sub-16:00 in each of his last 4 races, West has shown to be pretty elite but maybe haven't always been full strength.  They were down a scorer at Southern Showcase but put 4 under 16:40.  They were missing a scorer at ASICS which otherwise would arguably have put them ahead of multiple teams they lost to.  This could be a story of a team who is popping off at the right time.  Cole Schmoyer was only 7 second off Fernandes at Region and will be joined by Parker Chase, Aidan Portelli, and Caleb Guinter for support.

Lambert: Season Rankings:  2, 2, 2, 2, 3

Many fans of the sport considered this season to be a slugfest between Lambert and Carrollton, and I believe they are still correct - assuming the runners Lambert held out at Region are healthy and ready to go come State.  When they are full strength and on, they are only a small step behind Carrollton and by no means out of the conversation for the win.  Some I've spoken with throughout the season considered a Lambert performance or 2 to be superior to Carrollton's.  That's what makes this sport so fun to watch though... different camps forming.  Team Lambert / Team Carrollton like the unfortunate generation that was sucked into Team Edward / Team Jacob in the Twilight Saga.  Jacob is the correct one by the way.  Anyway - those in favor of Lambert will point to their victory at Coach Wood as proof that they can win big meets down the stretch.  Westminster, remember, is the only Georgia team to hold a victory over Carrollton (again, AT Carrollton), and Lambert squeaked by Westminster with a 4 point victory at CW.  See what I mean here?  If we use Westminster as a measuring stick, these 2 teams are even.  Head to head though, Carrollton has the advantage thanks to their aforementioned victory at ASICS.  If the entirely of individual threat Kushan Patel along with Jackson Hogsed, Reid Latimer, Matthew Miller, Patrick Lawson, and Hayden Nicholason are all healthy?  Be ready for a slugfest.

Brookwood: Season Rankings:  4, 3, 3, 3, 4

Dehnke's Dudes have risen back into podium contention and could be the deepest team in the field as they have had a consistently changing 'order of things' amongst their scorers.  After a slow start to the season, ace Charlie Thomas, 14th at State last year, has risen back to the top and will look to pace the Broncos on a course he clearly runs well.  There does seem to be a pretty sizable gap to the teams ranked ahead of them, especially if West Forsyth proves to be the 'real deal', but crazy things happen at State.  They are the class of Gwinnett County this season and have held their own against the best the State has had to offer, and they're another example of a squad that should have been on everyone's radar since the start of the season.  Strong races at Coach Wood and ASICS have the Broncos in surefire podium contention.  Big days from Austin Dezwart, Carter Dehnke, Don Pressley, Alexander Thompson, Marshall Bray, and/or Truitt Fowler could stamp their place on the podium.  It should be noted that most of these guys return next year, too, so this could be a rehash of the Brookwood of old.

Marietta: Season Rankings:  3, 4, 4, 5, 5

Marietta almost pulled off a big upset at State last year and came within 2 points of getting it done.  This year, they may need some of that magic to push them back onto the podium.  The Region 3 Champions sported a 16:19 average en route to the title, but there is very little room for error as their #6 was almost a minute behind their 5 - but they increased their gap over rival Harrison when compared to the 1 point advantage they had over them at Coach Wood.  Jared Fortenberry is an easy contender pick for the individual title but will need all teammates Hines Doyle, Jack Baltz, Evan Grundmeyer, and Jack Boland to be on the money to push past Brookwood or West Forsyth and snag a top 4 spot.  If anyone can do it though, it's Marietta.  They've had some of the best November racing results in recent memory of any team in the state.

Harrison High School: Season Rankings:  6, 7, 9, 6, 6

This team has a really interesting build to it.  Of their top 7, 3 are freshmen 2 are juniors, and 2 are seniors per their Region team.  That's a nice mix of experience and youth, and it likely also contributes to their up and down ride through the rankings this season.  They did seem to lose a little ground to Marietta at Region, but again, they were only 1 point back at Coach Wood.  Is this team talented enough to podium?  I think so - but that's likely true for most of the top 10 teams in 7A.  This unique dichotomy of experience and youth may surprise a couple of teams at State.  Consistent top runner Sterling Sellier has had a strong season aside from a rough race early on and is an easy top 5 threat at State.  Clint Huggins, Bryce Brownlee, Alex Albano, and Thomas Boyle will all look to try and get the Hoyas back on the podium.

Hillgrove: Season Rankings:  NR, 9, NR, 7, 7

The Hawks are under new leadership this season and likely just needed a little bit of time to adjust to things, but once they got going - they showed some remarkable improvement to make themselves a good top 10 threat and likely a little more.  Their region could be viewed as both a blessing and a curse given its difficulty, but it did allow them to be a bit more battle-tested than some of the weaker regions.  The sophomore duo of Joseph Brooks and John Shepherd lead a 'fab 5' senior group in Beau Baker, Jack Thompson, Connor Migliore, Noah Yates, and Will Ervin.  I would argue their 8th place finish at Coach Wood was their best race of the season though, pulling to within 11 of region rival Marietta and within 10 of region rival Harrison.  If they can keep riding the hot hand, maybe they end up with the last laugh from this region.

Mill Creek: Season Rankings:  5, 5, 6, 9, 8

MC Baby has come back down a bit following their dream 2021 season, but this is still a talented squad with plenty of potential.  They likely wanted a little more out of Coach Wood, but ace Luke Kalarickal, the lone remaining star from last year's State Championship team, has still done a great job pacing the Hawks.  For these guys, it seems to be a story of getting all 5 'on' at the same time which, I guess, is a story many of us coaches have read time and time again.  Steady #2 Gavin Mathieu was a little shaky at Coach Wood but then powered it home at Region, but then other supporting cast didn't quite hit what they wanted at Region.  If everyone fires off as they can?  This could be a top 5 team that can slide past the entirety of Region 3.  Anything more than that isn't likely, but hey, that's why we run the race in the first place.  The performances of Dylan Lucas, Jack Tillman, and Caiden Hall will be paramount in the end result for Mill Creek.

Milton: Season Rankings:  NR, NR, 5, 8, 9

What a strange season it's been for the Milton Eagles.  An afterthought for the majority of the season (perhaps due to staying out of some higher spotlight races), they come into ASICS and punch out like half of the 7A teams to get ranked 5th overall.  While they have since slid back down a little, the potential that Milton has may make them the biggest wildcard of the bunch.  A 15th place overall finish by leader Cory Chambers set the tone at that magical ASICS race and strong performances were turned in by Justin Sevel (16:11), Zach Patell (16:20), Daniel Murray (16:31), and Pearson Gillam (16:34) giving this team the potential to uproot many of the teams currently ranked ahead of them.  Can lightning strike twice for Milton? 

Parkview: Season Rankings:  10, NR, NR, NR, 10

Rounding out the top 10 here is Parkview, thanks largely to their relatively strong runner-up finish at Region against rival Brookwood.  This is an inexperienced crew that has been trying to continually race up against faster competition, and it could finally be paying off.  It remains to be seen if the Panthers can maintain or move up anywhere from here, but they will be looking to David Garcia, Kadin McAllister, Kaleb Tesfaye, Jack Holcomb, and Solomon Mussie for those answers.  On paper, it looks like the top 9 teams are out of reach, and there are a number of teams pining for the final 10th spot.

Those other teams could come from the likes of South Forsyth, Walton, North Paulding, Dacula, and Richmond Hill.


Who will win the Georgia 7A Boys Individual Title?

Boys Individual

Jared Fortenberry (Marietta)

The entire top 6 and 10 of the top 13 graduated from last year's race, so this year's race will feature lots of new faces.  One of those faces not new is returning on-paper favorite Jared Fortenberry, 7th at last year's meet.  Fortenberry has fared well against 7A competition, defeating the vast majority of them in each meet he's raced.  Aside from a shaky Cobb County meet, he has only had a couple other blemishes on an otherwise clean slate, perhaps most notably a narrow loss to Noah Martinson at ASICS (by 1 place - 15:09 to 15:13).  As the top returner from last year, he has shown signs that he can be standing atop the podium to cap off an awesome high school career.

Noah Martinson (Carrollton)

This guy has had a great season and, as I just said, does own a victory over Fortenberry this year.  He lost to Fortenberry by 3 seconds at home at Carrollton, so it could be a situation where these 2 are a toss up at this point.  Victories at his region meet and at Atlanta Classic (the closest rival being teammate Will Jennings) have Martinson riding good momentum entering State at his home course.

Luke Kalarickal (Mill Creek)

Kalarickal hasn't been able to down the previous 2 yet this season, but he has been within 'spitting distance' a couple of times and has otherwise been among the elite in 7A.  The Gwinnett County and Region 8 champion also was 10th at ASICS, 11th at Coach Wood, and 13th at Wingfoot, showing that he can mix it up with the elite in GA.  To snag a victory over Fortenberry and/or Martinson though, he'll need his 'A' game, but he's arguably been the most consistent of the 3, so perhaps it's a situation where consistency is key?

Kushan Patel (Lambert)

Patel, either due to injury or illness, has only raced 4 times this season.  He debuted at Berry in September (which one could argue was a team performance worthy of getting Lambert an early #1 seed) with a great 2nd place finish.  Then, he didn't race for a month and went 11th at ASICS, 10th at Coach Wood, and 2nd at Region.  I'd peg him basically even with Kalarickal at this point, but he did suffer a narrow defeat to another foe at Region...

Cory Chambers (Milton)

Chambers won't show up on anyone's metrics if only looking at last year's State Meet thanks to a rough day, but this season has been a completely different story.  The Region 6 champ, off a strong Spring season, was 20th at Wingfoot and 15th at ASICS - both comparable to Patel and Kalarickal.  He was a little shaky at Pickens & a Grinnin' but bounced back with that Region victory.  Chambers may not have enough to win, but if he can see himself as a top 3 guy?  He could give us some Carrollton magic. 

Diego Fernandes (West Forsyth)

Fernandes has been sub-16:00 in each of his last 4 races, including a victory over Chambers at Pickens & a Grinnin'.  He was 13th at ASICS and 35th in a loaded field at Southern Showcase, showing that he's definitely top 5 material.  The biggest thing he's going to need to shake off is his lone bad race of the season - a 32nd place finish at Carrollton Orthopedic.  If he can shake those demons, watch for him to be squarely in the top 10 come November 4th.

Ben Bergey (South Forsyth)

An injury-riddled season for Bergey thankfully came to an end at Region where, despite being only 6th overall, showed that if he can get to 100% in these 2 weeks, he's as good as anyone in the field.  This is a 4:14/9:16 guy we're talking about here.  He's only raced 4 times, but his strong 28th place finish at Southern Showcase was better than Fernandes, and he has won twice so far this season.  I consider Bergey a wildcard in the individual race.

Memphis Rich (Richmond Hill)

Here's a name you may not be overly familiar with because he's not been racing against mainstream competition - the lone exception being at Southern Showcase where he was a respectable 51st place in 15:52.  He followed it up with a victory in the B division of ASICS in a solo 15:31.  The nerve racking thing here though is he has not raced since ASICS, and as of this writing, Region 1 is the only region that has not yet been contested.  If he's healthy, he's a top 10 threat.  Let's hope he is.

Will Jennings (Carrollton)

While maybe a little out of the limelight thanks to teammate Noah Martinson, Jennings is no slouch in his own right, and he knows how to run his home course.  He was 3rd place in 6A last year (and the top non-senior) and was 15th as a sophomore - showing some great course knowledge and skill.  The guy was 15:45 at Southern Showcase and, even more impressively, 15:23 at ASICS - right with several others on this list.  Carrollton seems to be the most likely team to have 2 in the top 10, and if Jennings is able to access his home course magic with his current fitness?  I think he's a safe bet to be a big contender.

Sterling Sellier (Harrison)

Harrison's Sterling Sellier rounds out the top 10 individual preview thanks to his runner-up finish at Region (only 8 seconds behind favorite Jared Fortenberry) and great top 25 finishes at each of Jesse Owens (25th), Wingfoot (23rd), and Coach Wood (22nd).  This is a talented athlete who could possibly be just as good as many others listed ahead of him; keep an eye out for this Hoya.

Other athletes to consider include:  Houston Hamby (East Coweta), Ben Sydell (Denmark), Joseph Minecci (Walton), Cole Schmoyer (West Forsyth), Jackson Hogsed and Reid Latimer (Lambert), Charlie Thomas (Brookwood), Hagan Russell (Carrollton), Marc Petrucci (Collins Hill), and Steven McCartney (Archer)