The 6A girls race with a wild finish
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6A Girls Meet Recap
As the meet preview suggested, the highlight of the 6A girls race was the return of Marist, St Pius, and Blessed Trinity to the same stage together. From the individual race to the team battle, these girls all came out of the gates swinging, giving us what was probably the most exciting race out of all of Saturday's action.
Girls Leaders on the first loop. Photos by Alex Brust
Little had the early lead over Dollar
Starting with the individual race: Ruby Little took the lead fast and early and her teammates followed, packing at least three Eagles into the Top 20 before the mile mark and seemingly aiming to control their own destinies. Etowah, Blessed Trinity, and Creekview all dove into the fray early also, but the Golden Lions of St Pius seemed to be lurking back a bit, setting the stage for some drama for later.
Schemmel hung back early
Girls chase pack on the first loop
By separation slope, three girls had broken away from the main pack with Ruby Little from Marist, Katelynn Dollar from Creekview, and Claire Shelton from Dunwoody all trying to create some space from the main throng as St Pius' Hannah Schemmel, Blessed Trinity's London Ray, and then Marist's 2nd and 3rd runners Kate Selover and Maeve Waddell watched from a short distance back.
It was in the second half of the race that things really got wild though. The teams that took their shots early seemed to start fading and some of the teams that were more conservative? Those that hadn't taken the first charge up separation slope? They came roaring back to life
Just like they did going into the second half of the season, St. Pius tried to make themselves known going into the second half of this race, led first by Hannah Schemmel who seemed to find new life around the 2 mile mark and took off to try to close the decent sized gap from her chase pack to Little, Shelton, and Dollar. Entering the woods for the last time, it was the same storyline playing out all up and down the field- Runners who had been aggressive earlier on trying to hold on. Runners who had been conservative early on trying desperately to gain ground. More than any other race Saturday, it looked like the ladies entered Carrollton with one of two mindsets.
The finish was wild
Then there was the finish. Back in the woods, Schemmel took the lead from Little and Shelton went with her. Coming back into the main field and center stage, Schemmel and Shelton were side by side, neck and neck matching one another blow for blow like a pair of prize fighters all the way up the hill. On the last straightaway we saw Schemmel throw in a surge to gain some separation, but Shelton came fighting back down the hill and even pulled ahead for a few steps on the final straight before Schemmel hit her final gear and pulled off the win for the Golden Lions in truly dramatic fashion. Schemmel had an amazing track season as a sophomore but dealt with injuries her entire junior year and there were question marks surrounding what she would do this fall.
Dollar with a strong 4th place finish
Behind them, Ruby Little came through, holding on to third place and besting most other teams' ones, but for Marist the story of the day was the rest of their pack. Kate Selover turned in an outstanding 6th place finish, edging out St Pius's 2nd Jessica Sheehan. Marist's 3rd, Stella Chambless beat Pius's 3rd Lane Boyle, who was followed immediately by Maeve Waddell, Marist's 4th. When you put 4 girls in the Top 13, it's very hard for a team to beat you. Aggie Law finished out Marist's scoring with a 41st place finish, but after their Top 4, Marist's damage was already well done. 67 points in Georgia's second largest classification is no easy task.
London Ray led BT to a 3rd place finish
St. Pius came in 2nd place with 81 points, their strong second half propelling them past Blessed Trinity with 95 points. Then Sequoyah High School snagged the last podium spot with 164 points off the strength of their pack. With only one runner in the Top 20, Sequoyah needed their 2/3/4 to run well together to get past Pope, Etowah, and Roswell, and boy did they, with a meager 1:11 split from their first finisher to their fifth, and just a 9 second gap from their 2-4, Sequoyah set the bar for 6A Public Schools pack running.