2023 Boys and Girls Georgia 6A Track & Field Season Preview

Etowah had a monster performance in the 4x800 last year and that could be the difference between a team title or not this year

This week we're going to preview the upcoming track and field seasons for each GHSA Classification. We've got the boys and girls projected team scores and season previews below for class 5A.

Note - The relay team scores are based on last year's performances, so they could vary from what is listed. For a breakdown of the individuals, check out the returners rankings for BOYS and GIRLS

Boys Team Scores

2Shiloh High School60.7
4North Atlanta52
7Langston Hughes HS29
7New Manchester High School29
9Allatoona HS28
10Pope High School27
11East Paulding High School22.2
12Rockdale Co.18.5
13Houston County18
14Blessed Trinity17.5
15Rome High School16.5

Well this is an interesting team battle that we've got on our hands in 6A this year. On paper it appears to be a three way battle and the favorite is apparently not one of the traditional power houses. But that's just on paper and I think that's a little deceiving. Either way, Etowah does have a path to victory in class 6A this year, and it'll have to do it mostly on the backs of distance stars Dru Moore and Andrew Balogh. Fortunately for Etowah, Moore and Balogh were on top of their game at the state meet last year in both track and cross country. Unfortunately for Etowah, the path to scoring big points didn't get any easier as there is some serious depth in the 6A distance events. Either way, if they can improve on their performances from last year, and also do damage in the 4x800 again, it would put Etowah out to an early lead that could be impossible to catch. They's also got big points coming in the pole vault with Zane Gibson and Wes Rountree who could possibly go 1-2 to kick things off for them. Relying on four stars for almost all of your points is definitely not as easy as it sounds. One slight mistake could be very costly. But it's been done before and those four seem reliable enough to get the job done, but getting a little help in some other events would give them some breathing room. And the bigger question is will it be enough in the first place with two super powers right behind them in the virtual meet?

Shiloh seems to ALWAYS be in the mix for a state title in track. It almost seems unfair. Much like Etowah they're expected to score big points in one area - hurdles. Bryce Southerland and George Benjamin are two studs and could go 1-2 in the 110m hurdles while they combine with Eric Barker to potentially put up just as many points in the 300m hurdles as well. Then you'll expect all of them to help on at least one relay if not 2-3 relays which is why you expect some relay points from Shiloh too. Barker can score in the high jump and triple jump as well so that could be some very important team points.

Alexander is another superpower in the world of track and field and just keeps churning out studs year after year. They're a much more balanced team than Etowah or Shiloh which could end up being the difference maker in the end. Sometimes you can overpower star power by having enough kids at the meet scoring points in enough events. You gotta figure that'll be Alexander's strategy. But that's not to ignore the two big studs they do have who could put up some big points if they end up winning a title or two. Eric Singleton is a threat in any of the sprinting events and Marcus Guidry could get some big swing points in the 800 if he comes away with the win there and you'll expect him to help Alexander score elsewhere as well either in another event or on a couple of relays. They've also got Amarii Atchison and Kelechi Ihekwereme who are expected to put up some points in the throws and also have room to improve. If they do, look out as Alexander all of a sudden becomes the favorite. Singleton can also put up some jumps points, but as a potential four event star they'll have to be a little careful with managing his load to keep him healthy when it matters most. Don't be surprised if they have some other up and coming star that's not yet on any list, they always seem to find somebody.

Other teams in contention would include North Atlanta, and Lovejoy. North Atlanta is led by their three best athletes in Carl Murray and Sidney McReynolds in the sprints and Sumner Kirsch in the distance events. If they can break through or they can find some depth on their team, they'll be in the mix. Lovejoy is a little more balanced across events but they're led by their two hurdlers of Kalib Branch who is favored to do well in the 110m hurdles and Amaru Bonelli who could do well in the 300m hurdles. If they pick up some depth they can find themselves on the podium this year.

Other athletes to watch out for in the sprints would be Quintavius James who is in the mix in both the 100 and the 200m dash as well as Zebulun Jackson in the 200 and Hilton Alexander in the 400. Most of the top hurdlers will be involved in the team battle but don't be surprised if Shawn Jarrett scores some big points too.

In the distance events is where you might find the most depth in class 6A boys. So it's hard to say who will contend with Moore, Balogh, Kirsch, and Guidry. But John Jessup and Clark Bilderback should be tough foes in the 800 while Jessup will be strong in the 1600 as well. Eli Corn will be tough to beat in both the 1600 and 3200 while Benny Brenneman and Tucker Wright will definitely look to contend in the 3200. But, any 6A distance preview is incomplete without mentioning the state cross country champion. Tommy Latham may well be the best distance runner in all of Georgia, and he's only a sophomore. Are we about to see the most impressive sophomore track season in state history? Winning at least two state titles this spring could help in that argument.

For field events Riyon Rankin is the man as the only returner over 7 feet in the high jump. How high can he go this year? Nicholas Crosswhite could potentially win all 3 jumps in 6A, if he can somehow match Rankin in the high jump. But he's favored to win both long and triple jump so either way he's putting up a lot of points. Ethan Crite and Najiib Anderson will look to challenge Crosswhite in the triple jump while Singleton and Malcolm Simmons will try to take him down in the long jump. In the pole vault Brandon Peeples will try to spoil Etowah's fun by getting the win while in the discus we've got Tahir Hines and Brad Chosewood who will try to hold off the Alexander duo. In the shot put the favorite is Jack Woods, but both His and Chosewood are breathing down his neck, and you gotta figure Alexander will want to get some shot put points from their star throwers too.

Girls Team Scores

1Woodward Academy78
3Jonesboro HS50.15
4Lakeside, Evans43
6Grovetown HS32
8Blessed Trinity27.5
9Rome High School25.3
10Pope High School23
11North Atlanta18.65
12St. Pius X17.15
13Riverwood International Charter School17
14New Manchester High School16.25

Wow. This could end up being the best team battle of the entire weekend when we get to May. We've got two very strong teams who appear set to battle it out for the win. Alexander and Woodward Academy both have some serious firepower and neither appears to have a true leg up on the other at this point. Since Alexander is projected to get more relay points, we will consider Woodward the favorite...for now. Woodward has studs and depth in several events, but their biggest star appears to be Kenyah Conner. Conner attempted the very challenging 400/800 double last year and came up just short of completing it after taking a close 2nd in the 400 and winning a very tight 800m battle. If she's back for more in those two events and contributes on relays again, then Woodward will be very tough to compete with. Their other stud is Olivia Powell who will also attempt to get two individual wins as she's favored in both the 100m and 300m hurdles. Those two alone could put up over half of their points before they even get to relays. And finally they have Peyton Funderburk who is a star in her own right in both the long and triple jump. The problem is she faces stiffer competition in those events than the other two face, but she's also talented enough to come away with two wins for the War Eagles. Combine that talent with Chelsea Williams in the sprints and I'm sure they'll have some strong relays too. They'll be pretty tough to beat.

But if anybody can take them on, it's definitely Alexander who is basically just as strong as Woodward. Alexander is hurting from the loss of Adaejah Hodge, but they still have some serious firepower coming back. Victoria Teasley is one of the best sprinters in the state, the only problem is she's going up against Yahnari Lyons who is one of the best sprinters of all time. But 16 points is still no joke and could be a huge help towards their team title pursuit. Cortney Adams is also very good and could put up some big points for them in the 800 and whatever other events she chooses to do. And they've also got points coming from Alisa Gordon and Aseye Srigboh who both have room to grow and add to their team total. I would expect them to both contribute on relays as well. If these girls can get the right combination together and get a little help from some teammates, they can definitely repeat as champions. And you know Coach Robinson will have them ready to go, he's one of the best this state has ever seen.

There is a path to victory for some other schools, but it's not easy. the most likely candidates are Jonesboro, Lakeside, Evans, or Dunwoody. Jonesboro is led by Lyons who incredibly runs the 100, 110h, and 200. She's had a little bit of back luck these last two years, but if she stays healthy and doesn't hit any hurdles, she could definitely put up 30 points all by herself. Combine that with Queen Adams as the favorite in the high jump and they could make the podium with just two girls. Lakeside has two big point scorers in Anetra Graham and Kennedy Myers and appears set to do well in the relays. Unfortunately for them they go up against some stiff competition in these events. Really that's the problem for all of these teams, so this thing might come down to whoever gets the most out of their studs in the sprints, hurdles, and relays. Which is where Dunwoody comes into play. They get most of their points from Distance and Pole Vault with Claire Shelton and Mary McLoughlin. So if the other teams all beat each other up in their head to head events and keep the team total low it could open the door for somebody like Dunwoody to come up and win it all by scoring big in the other events. It should be an exciting weekend in Rome!

Other sprinter that shouldn't be overlooked are Kenadie Singleton in the 100 and Shamya Flanders in the 400 as both ladies could contend for the win with the already mentioned top sprinters. In the hurdles most of the big scorers will be on the team contenders, but don't overlook somebody like Miya Winston, Mataya Gayle, or Alyssa Willer.

The distance events could be lights out this year. Four of the top distance runners in the state did battle at the state cross country meet this fall, and Hannah Schemmel came out on top. This, along with her PR's of 10:25 and 4:52 make her the favorite to begin the season. She didn't compete at all last track season due to injury, but if he's healthy and at her best, she will be tough to beat in any of the distance events. She even has the speed to step down and go for the win in the 800 if she chooses to do that instead. Let's also not overlook Katelynn Dollar who was the Gatorade athlete of the year for cross country in 2021 and absolutely has the talent to race any of the top girls. She's also battled injury so she doesn't quite have the times that some other girls do, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. Besides those two, we have several others who are all capable of winning including Shelton, Ruby Little, Charlotte Dunn, Grace Von Biberstein, Alexa Hoppenfeld, and Claire Petersen. Add in Conner and Adams in the 800 and these distance events will be crazy this year. It'll be interesting to see what each of them chooses to do. Many of them meet up in some tough region matchups as well. It's going to be an exciting spring.

And finally, let's not overlook some of the stud field event athletes who haven't been mentioned yet. Paris Ivery is almost over 40 feet in the triple jump and over 5-6 in the high jump. But she's the favorite in the long jump on paper with a jump of 19-5 coming into this year. What a jumper! In the pole vault Keira Hight appears to be the favorite but don't count out Julia Acker or McLoughlin. In the throws there's not a ton of team points up for grabs, but Skylar Soli is the favorite in the discus and Neely Rogan is the favorite in the shotput. Behind them you have Lexi Durban, Maya Steins, and Raina Massey all lurking behind them aiming to get the bigger throw.