Path To The Podium: Marietta Boys Win Another State Title

Interview with Marietta's Boys and girls team after their sweep at state

Path to the Podium: Marietta Boys

By Andy Christie

Everyone sees the smiling faces when a team is up on the podium at State, but not everyone sees what it took to get there. In this article, we find out from Coach Jack Coleman what it took for the Marietta boys (who were ranked 5th going into State) to win the 7A State Championship.

XC 2021

  • Any seniors that set a good example or laid the foundation? 

  • We graduated our largest Senior class last year. James May and Cade Mayfield has been Varsity runners all 4 years.  Will Barnes and Andrew Owens were Seniors who lead the younger guys and pushed the Varsity positions throughout the year.  We lost a lot of leadership with that team.

  • Any results that gave motivation (good or bad).

  • After losing by 2 points the team was definitely crushed, but motivated from it.  Jack Boland and Evan Grundmeyer both raced state for the 1st time gaining valuable experience.

Winter 2021

  • Anyone that stepped up their training with XC already in mind:

  • The Boland brothers, Jack and Paddy stepped it up over winter along with Evan Grundmeyer.  We got Skylar Mwaniki back from his stress fracture in XC season.

Track 2022

  • Anyone that had a breakout season, or new additions, that changed the outlook of XC.

  • The continued emergence of the Jack Boland and Evan Grundmeyer to be sub 4:40 1600 guys told me they could help in the fall.

  • Anyone that was already expected to contribute, but still had a good season

  • Jared Fortenberry remained the most consistent runner MHS has ever had.  He is so steady it's crazy.  He kept the track team banking points in distance races.

  • Any setbacks/challenges that had to be overcome?

  • My coaching blunder in the 4x800 at sectional in Tifton cost some really good runners a chance to run at State and help win the Championship.  They wouldn't say it but I knew I needed to show the guys I could be trusted moving forward.

Summer 2022

  • Any new additions that changed the outlook for XC.

  • Parker Pitts (Freshman) showed the team he would be pushing for Varsity all season which was nice for our future.

  • Early goals for the season

  • Our early season goals were to stay healthy.

  • Any setbacks/challenges that had to be overcome?

  • Summer was solid through camp.  The day we get home I was getting texts about positive COVID tests. Most all the boys went through July with a bout of COVID with a number down for multiple weeks. 

Season 2022

  • Anyone that had a breakout season that changed the outlook.

  • Evan Grundmeyer showed early on he was going to be a major scorer on the team.

  • How early results compared to any goals 

  • We showed up to Pickens and hoped to see where we were and Carrollton drilled us.  This became a reoccurring theme for the season with Carrollton putting it on us.  We kept placing top 3rd-6th at most invites and looked to be good but nothing like a state champion.

  • Any revisions of goals? 

  • The boys stayed focused and kept me focused.  I started talking about the podium and they kept talking about winning state. They never gave in to the temptation to lower the bar.

  • Any setbacks/challenges that had to be overcome? Paddy Boland had to have his appendix removed just before Coach Wood and that hurt a lot.  He had been the #6 who insulated our team score well every time someone had an off day.  Our margin for error was getting smaller as we got to the end of the season.

  • in hindsight, key moments of the season that led to the State result.

  • We hit rock bottom at Coach Wood.  The guys got out the box really slow and had to come back over the 2nd half of the race to finish 6th.  After looking it over, the coaching staff did notice we moved up nicely in the last 2 miles so we took that positive from the race.  I believe not beating themselves up over the final result at Wood led to a really good Region meet which was the springboard to the State Meet.  Belief in yourself can't be underestimated.  The guys knew from all their losses that it would take a better effort than what they had given during the season to have a chance at State.  Well done gentlemen!!