6A Boys Recap: Latham Amazes Everybody, North Atlanta Wins

The 6A boys race

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Boys 6A State Meet Recap

Unlike on the girls side, with the drama of some late charges, 6A Boys played like a business outing for a lot of our top teams. Going into the race, there were two different styles of teams at play- 

1) The Power Pairs, where a team would put two runners in the Top 10 and then have the rest of the team strung out behind them Ex: the North Atlanta Titans with Sumner Kirsch and Truman Thompson up front, Etowah's 1, 2 combo of Dru Moore and Andrew Balogh, Roswell's 1, 2 combination of Thomas Rhodes and Christian Jimenez, and even a pair of Rome Wolves who challenged the other pairings early.

Kirsch led North Atlanta

Pope's pack. Photos by Alex Brust

2) The Pope Pack- A collection of 5 runners who ended up with a 34 second split between them, but no front runner in the Top 10. 

In a field as crowded as the 6A boys, there's no telling which team dynamic will play better. It's all a question of how things play out in that front pack. It's a question of how hard the leaders take everybody out and how many people "die off" on the second loop, to be gobbled up by the chase pack. It's a question of where, exactly, in the bubble Pope's pack lands. Towards the front? They'll be in great shape. Towards the back? Pope could fall hard.

When the gun went off it took a long time for a clear "lead pack" to take charge. Through the mile mark there wasn't any clear separation between the front 10, the next 10, or 30th through 150th. It was just a long, connected line of competitors until somewhere back by the 2 mile mark when Tommy Latham from Marist decided to drop the proverbial hammer, and it was on. Gaps opened up instantly as each team's front runner(s) tried to throw in the right move to break the people around them.

But for Pope, the wrong gap seemed to open up in the wrong place. Pope's first runner, Benny Brenneman, finished in 13th place, right at the front of the "chase pack" but with nowhere to go. 4 seconds separated him from Marist's Ian Gaffney, another 5 seconds separated them from Roswell's Christian Jimenez. North Atlanta managed to shave off enough points, with their 5th and 7th place finishes up front, that there wasn't a viable road for Pope to hit back without overcoming big no man's lands.

Roswell secured 3rd place in much the same style as North Atlanta won 1st, nudging out a Marist crowd that had been expected to give them a run for the trophy. Roswell ran a very similar race as North Atlanta, led by their 2 front runners, similar to North Atlanta, but with a little bit more of a spread through their 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

Marist, 4th place, had a similar storyline: Led by Tommy Latham's 2nd victory of the year, the Marist front runner was followed by another good power pair for their 2nd and 3rd with Ian Gaffney (12th) and Liam Hanemann (15th), their front three propelled them to the final podium spot for the 6A boys. Latham was the top performer all class on the weekend and the first sophomore to ever break 16:00 at Carrollton, a truly impressive feat on a slow version of Carrollton.

Etowah's Pack

Tucker Wright

Etowah was a strong 5th place but unfortunately is on the outside looking in for the podium. At least seniors Dru Moore and Andrew Balogh can take solace in the fact that they killed it individually as two of the top performers all weekend.