Class A had some of top runners in Georgia competing and these races were exciting. But, one runner left no doubts to her dominance of Girls XC in this meet as Grace Tinkey flat out just took off and torched the grass, wood chips, wind and road crossings. Tinkey split around a 5:35 at the Mile Marker as fans and runners alike watched her fly by their jaws dropped in awe. Never have I seen someone so far ahead of the chase pack in the past 10 years of coming to Carrollton and she made it look effortless...As many of you may know, Grace was healing from an injury in October and didn't run until region so after this Saturday she looks prepared for Foot Locker where she will attempt to qualify a 3rd time for Finals in San Diego. Oh, yeah, she also cracked sub 18 clocking a 17:59.27
Lindy Long leads a trio of Landmark Girls at the 1m Mark....
Guess who's back in the driver's seat in Class A Girls....yep, Landmark Christian and they may be on top for the next few seasons also. Landmark had an incredible run of State titles winning consecutive titles from 2003-2007 and they seemed to hit a lull, but in 2010 showed signs of re-emerging as a power until this season hitting on all cylinders again. Lindy Long was their sole runner cracking the top 10 placing 4th in 19:36, but their depth with the 2-4 runners won the title including Courtney Gilliam placing 14th in 20:26, Kaylin Deel placing 15th in 20:44 and Olivia Bouchard in 21:09.
Wesleyan had improved throughout the season and came up just 4 points shy of Landmark placing 2 girls in the top 10 including a 3rd place overall finish by Caroline Reed in 19:30 and Taylor Panther's 8th place effort in 20:08. First Presyterian Day had been ranked #1 much of the season and had a tough go again at State despite Tinkey's huge win and teamate Victoria Coppage's 2nd place overall finsh in 18:58, but they will return nearly everyone for 2012. As Coach Parrish stated on the Forum, this A Girls field was just loaded, but Darlington put up a good fight taking the 4th and final Podium spot a strong 4th with 101 points and with Lauren Hooper earning All-State honors placing 10th in 20:21 with Ansley McDurmon just behind her in 11th at 20:22.
Also earning All-State Individual honors were Destiny Jenkins of ACS placing 5th in 19:42, Tayler Tuttle of Providence Christian placing 6th in 20:01, Jessica Zalzman of Pinecrest Academy in 20:09, Caroline Henry of Galloway in 20:14.
On the Boys side, the questions were: 1- Did any team have the depth to challenge Wesleyan? and 2- Who was going to try to challenge Cameron Thornton of Whitefield and hold him off the final 1K? Well, FPD had answers to both those questions and nearly pulled it off coming up just a little short though in only their 2nd season of GHSA competition.
Wesleyan's boys proved again to have just too much depth for the field as they added another state title to their resume scoring 67 points for the team title. The Wolves were led by veterans Bradley Gossett as he placed 5th overall in 16:40 and Drew Sutton a stride behind in 16:41. But the pack running of their 3-5 runners clinched it as they placed 16th, 19th and 21st including runners Doug Mohme, Takim Williams and Timothy Marsh as they had a 3-5 Split of :08...
Gray Lindley of First Presbyterian Day put it all on the line to beat Thornton in 1A.....
FPD did give them a run though led by Gray Lindley as he left it all out on the course and perhaps chose the only strategy he could by taking the race out hard and getting so far ahead that Thornton (nor anyone else) would be able to make up the margin he eatablished in the first 1.5 miles. Lindley ended up a very strong second place with nothing to hang his head about as he clocked a 16:06 earning Individual runnerup Overall. Also earning All-State honors for the Vikings was Kenneth Reeder who placed 10th in 16:56.
Galloway earned the 3rd place Podium spot scoring 122 points holding off a resurgent and hungry Athens Academy boys program who took the final Podium spot with 135. Galloway had been ranked much of the season atop the A Rankings and were led Saturday by Calvin Henry's 7th place effort in 16:46 and Reilly Freidman's 12th place showing in 16:59. Athens Academy returned to the Podium after a 6 year absence thanks to the strong races by Henry Dwyer's All-State performance placing 4th in 16:35 and frosh Adam Hearn's 24th place finish in 17:26 with Curt Crymes a few meters back in 17:36.
Cameron Thornton is a veteran harrier and tremendous nationally ranked 800 meter runner as he has clocked a 1:49.623 at the Georgia Olympics last season in a race of the ages with friendly rival Wanliss O'Neal 2011 grad of Holy Innocents. Thornton was cool as a cucumber as he ran his race not getting fazed at all by Lindley's bold strategy. Thornton slowly began to make up ground until he was just 10 meters back with 900 meters to go as I could see right then he was just stalking his prey, waiting to put his 800 meter strength into action and downshift into speed mode if it became neccessary. It was a perfectly executed plan as Thornton did just that and cruised downhill to a second straight Individual title clocking a 15:58.68. Also earning All-State status were Mount Pisgah's Sam Reilly with an excellent 3rd place finish in 16:22, Joey Carr of Mount Paran Christian placing 8th in 16:51 and former MS State XC Champ Ray Warner of Holy Innocents placing 9th in 16:55.