5A Boys Recap: Santiago Comes Through, Decatur Holds On

The 5A boys race

State Meet Hub

Your one stop shop for the 2022 GHSA State Meet

5A Boys State Meet Recap

It's me. Hi. I'm the problem. It's me.

Right before the 5A Boys race, I had the nerve to say, out loud, "Wow. Bunch of clean starts today."

I would like to formally apologize to everybody involved for jinxing the afternoon, because after I spoke those cursed words, we had the hardest possible time getting going. TWO false starts, one occurring once the majority of the race was already to or past the brick wall at the end of the straightaway, made for a maddening start to the 6A Boys race.

But once we finally got underway, the big battle came down to Decatur, the preseason favorites, versus Clarke Central, who hadn't been expected to beat Chapel Hill or Chattahoochee, but who brought their A games on the right day and took a legitimate shot at unseating the favorites.

Lead Pack Early. Photos by Alex Brust

Decatur didn't jump out at the gun. Or, they might have the first two times. But the third time the gun went off, we saw an early clear separation between Chattahoochee's 1 and 2, Clarke Central's 1 and 2, and Cambridge's number one, with Decatur's numbers 1-3 lurking a bit, but charging forward into Top 7 spots by separation slope. From there it was a story of those front seven running their race, then 'the mob' running their own race a few seconds back. Going into the second loop of the course, we clearly had three teams in the mix for a State Championship from a front-runners perspective, but the title was going to be won or lost in the crowd between their fourths and fifths.

Clarke Central took their best shot at the win

Again, like with so many other races on Saturday, the big moves seemed to happen around the two mile mark, with Diego Santiago from Chattahoochee taking a quick, clear lead over the rest of the pack of seven, and leaving everybody else to battle for second. It was also near the two mile mark though, that we saw some things shaking up in the main pack. Decatur, who had five boys up early, suddenly only had four runners up, and there was a large gap for another team to potentially take advantage of. Enter Clarke Central, who were matching Decatur well 1/2/3, but whose 4th and 5th runners were a bit farther back. The big question going into the woods for the final time, was who would hold on? Decatur's 5th? Or Clarke Central's 4th and 5th?

Westing led Decatur to victory

By the end it was Decatur who, despite a minute gap between their 4th and their 5th, found just enough to secure the win. They were led by 3 top ten finishes with Jake Westing(2nd), William Carlton(4th), and Zakariye Abdulahi(7th), and Despite a valiant effort by Clarke Central, getting 31 points total from your top 4 runners, as Decatur did, is borderline insurmountable. Beck Wolf-Hardy and Max Carlson led Clarke Central in a valiant effort.

Chattahoochee came in third place with 146 points, led by the Diego Santiago victory, and Jones County High School packed in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th runners all into a 21 second gap to take the final, 4th place podium spot.