GHSA 2A State Preview: Big Individual Favorites Lead The Way

Zechariah Prater is a heavy favorite on the boys side

Don't forget to check out the state meet hub as it gets updated with results merges, rankings, meet previews, live results and full coverage of the 2023 GHSA state Cross Country Championships:

State Meet Hub

2A is the next classification up in the meet previews. This classification is not typically known for depth as the schools are still fairly small. But there are still some interesting battles to pay attention to across the board.

Boys Individual

In the individual race for 2A we have a clear favorite with Zechariah Prater from Fannin County. Prater has by far the fastest PR of anybody in the field but he's also performed well against some top level competition at meets like Pickens and Grinnin and OrthoWest. When you combine that with his fast time from Asics mid season and he has everything it takes to run away with this race. He has the look of a kid who is only days away from his first ever state title. Figuring out what will happen behind prater is a little more complicated though. Will DeLoach and Eyan Zupko might be the next best two runners in the field. DeLoach has 4 wins this year and Zupko has 3 so they both know how to win races. And while both have been near the front of races all year, they haven't faced off yet this season so it'll be an interesting battle on the hills of Carrollton on Saturday. Pepper Davis is another runner who could factor into thing near the front of this race. Behind these runners are athletes like Hayden Hodges, Rush Hatcher, Ruben Ramirez, and Gavin Quinn who all have the times to their names. Overall there's not much cross pollination of data in 2A boys which definitely leaves plenty of mystery surrounding some of these runners heading into the state meet.

GA MileSplit Prediction:
1. Prater
2. DeLoach
3. Zupko
4. Davis
5. Ramirez

Boys Team

This race appears to be incredibly tight for the win. There is almost nothing to separate Athens Academy and Providence Christian no matter how you look at it. Athens Academy got the region win, but it was only by two points and there are plenty of examples of that flipping when we get to the state meet. Athens Academy has DeLoach up front and then a tight pack of 2-5 that should work together on Saturday. Providence on the other hand has a tight 1-2-3 with Jon Burton, Jason Chapman, and Nicolas Hicks that are ahead of AA's pack and a 4 and 5 that will be looking to race their pack. There should be plenty of guys racing each other with every single point on the line on Saturday. It's the kind of thing that makes you really excited for the race. Athens Academy will be looking to defend their title from last year, the 2nd in school history, while Providence is looking for their first ever state title. This battle has everything you could want, get out the popcorn. The 3rd best team in this field appears to be Jeff Davis who is led by Pierce Parlor and an incredibly tight pack of 5 who have PR's that are separated by only 15 seconds! Combine that with the fact that they also have depth and they appear to be a pretty solid lock at 3, or perhaps even good enough to move into the top 2 if anybody falters. Vidalia and East Jackson are the next most likely teams to battle for the final podium spot, which should also be a decent race.

Ga MileSplit Prediction:
1. Providence
2. Athens
3. Jeff Davis
4. East Jackson

Girls Individual

Ok, this one is easy too, right? Maya Davis is the clear favorite coming into this race. She's run faster than her next closest competitor at almost every race this year, she's almost a minute ahead of everybody, and she's only lost two races all year. The only potential blimp on her entire season is a slightly subpar effort at Coach Wood, where she was still 15th overall in a loaded field and faster than any other girl in 2A. Assuming nothing unfortunate happens, she will claim her 2nd state title. It's figuring out what will happen behind her that is a giant question mark. I have no idea how to sort through who is the favorite in this situation. There are several girls who are near the top of the rankings who ran massive PR's at their region meet. And because they've done nothing but small meets all year, it's hard to know if that was just because their region meet was so fast or because they finally had some competition. This is probably the hardest race to figure out, but I think Lindsey Holloway and Molly Smith are the two girls who are next in line. I am likely overlooking somebody or underestimating somebody's region performance though. So keep an eye out for Leah Nyce, Lola Hunter, and Rosemary Daumeyer.

Ga MileSplit Prediction:
1. Davis
2. Nyce
3. Smith
4. Holloway
5. Hunter

Girls Team

The girls team race is also fairly easy no matter how you look at it. Athens Academy has the best runner at every single position. That's basically impossible to beat as they'll most likely bring home their first team title in over 20 years, and 5th ever in school history. After AA it'll probably be Fellowship Christian, but that's not a guarantee as there are several teams lurking and could even knock them off the podium completely. FCS though has Daumeyer and enough depth at 3-4-5that they should be ok. But one bad race and all of a sudden they could find themselves on the outside looking in. Who can take them though? Jeff Davis, Savannah Arts, Fannin County, and Union County are all right there. And you can look a bunch of different ways a see a different favorite each time. I am just not sure who the biggest threat is to FCS at this point, so that'll be fun to see on Saturday as we now have our first example of a podium that is not mostly locked in place. Somebody is going to be left off, which means we will see teams fighting for  every single place.

GA MileSplit Prediction:
1. Athens
2. Savannah Arts
3. FCS
4. Jeff Davis