10th Annual Coach Wood Meet Preview


                                                                                    Coach Wood Preview

   This year is the 10th edition of the meet, and could be the most competitive one yet.  With Nike athlete Shannon Rowbury set to appear, the always popular Fleet Feet/Nike tent, and the Cross Country friendly atmosphere of Gainesville College, the “unofficial All Class State Meet” (as one messageboard poster dubbed it) should be packed with plenty of intrigue.


       Girls Championship Race:

        This race features 5 of the 10 All Class teams, and will be a clash of the titans, as 6A #1 Walton (minus their #2) butts heads with #2 Brookwood (also ranked #22 in the nation!) and  4A #1 Marist .  Behind those three, there is a pack of 6A schools that look to see where they are with the State Meet just 3 weeks away.  Also, Flowery Branch looks to mix it up with the bigger schools, while fellow 5A teams Lakeside Evans, Winder,  and East Paulding hope to gain ground on the #2 team in 5A.

        Individually, the race should be interesting, as Peyton Thomas from Roswell leads the pack after posting 18:08 at Great American, and Fulton County Champion Allie Buchalski of Johns Creek and  Annie Kelly battle Gwinnett County Champion Katherine Yost (all 3 are Milesplit National Honorable Mentions). Morgan Ilse and Alexa Womack will be in or near the lead pack as well.


Walton (#1 All Class/#1 6A)

Brookwood (#2 All Class, #2 6A, #22 in nation)

Marist (#3 All Class/#1 4A)

Milton (#4 All Class, #3 6A)

Woodstock (#7 All Class, #5 6A)

Mill Creek (#8 6A)

Flowery Branch (#2 5A)

Lakeside-Evans (#4 5A)

Winder (#6 5A)

East Paulding (#8  5A)

St. Pius (#2  3A)

North Hall (#4  3A)

Chapel Hill (#5  3A)

Oconee County (#8 3A)

Top individuals: Annie Kelly, Milton; Peyton Thomas, Roswell; Allie Buchalski, Katherine Yost, Norcross; Morgan Ilse, Marist; Alexa Womack, Walton; Sarah Bowles, Lakeside Evans; Ashley Buda, Brookwood ; Savannah Carnahan, South Forsyth; Lilly Kidane, East Paulding; Erin Edmundson, North Oldham


      Boys Championship

       7 of the top 10 All Class teams square off in the most stacked field in Coach Wood history. Friendly rivals St. Pius and Mill Creek (minus #5 Sam Costa) will go head to head for the last time this season, with bragging rights on the line (Mill Creek won Stage Races and Berry, while Pius had the better finish at Great American).  However, there are many teams behind them capable of winning the race as well. Marietta, Norcross, Brookwood, and Walton (minus #2 runner Brian Sullivan) all have potential to win this meet, and the 6A State title come November.  Also in the mix is Milton (minus #3 Ryan Kelly), running the Championship race for the first time, and then perennially strong programs North Hall and Marist (who has looked particularly strong as of late).  With  Parkview, Milton and Etowah rounding out the 6A rankings, and 5A #1 Flowery Branch also in the race, a top 10 spot will be hard to come by this year.

        Individually, Pius’ Austin Sprague and Marist’s Michael Thurston look to duke it out, with both posting sub 15:30 finishes at Great American. Berry and Cobb Champion Ben Pleak will look to challenge them, as well as Gwinnett County runner-up Arman Rehmann, Walton’s Kenan Farmer,  Mill Creek’s Eric Westog, Brookwood’s Matthew McClintock, and Milton’s Nathan Riech. Running as individuals are Henry Dwyer of Athens Academy, and Alex Grady of Newton.  With a stacked field full of State top 10 hopefuls, look for some furious finishes.


St. Pius (#1 All Class, #1 3A)

Mill Creek (#2 All Class, #1 6A)

Norcross (#3 All Class, #2 6A)

Brookwood (#4 All Class, #3 6A)

Marist (#6 All Class, #1 4A)

Walton (#8 All Class, #5 6A)

Marietta (#9 All Class, #6 6A)

North Hall (#10 All Class, #2 3A)

Etowah (#10 6A)

Flowery Branch (#1 5A)

Greenbrier (#3 5A)

Lakeside-Evans (#4 5A)

Sequoyah (#8 5A)

Chapel Hill (#9 3A)


Top individuals: Austin Sprague, St. Pius; Michael Thurston, Marist; Ben Pleak, Marietta; Eric Westog, Mill Creek; Nathan Riech, Milton; Kenan Farmer, Walton; Calvin Tirrell, St. Pius; Daniel Navarro, Marist ; Henry Dwyer, Athens Academy; Alex Grady, Newton; Matthew McClintock, Brookwood

Girls Varsity

        This race looks to feature teams that normally would not square off against each other, as All Class #9 and #1 AAA Blessed Trinity will lead the charge and upstart Pickens County will hope to capture a trophy. But they will have to withstand the efforts of Lakeside Dekalb, Oconee, Lovett, and Athens Academy, all solid teams who should fare well amongst the competition.   Individually, Tyra Holloway should be the favorite, posting an excellent time of 19:02.  She will be following by the duo of Natalie Kile, Bailey Willett, and Taylor Dove, all who have broken 20. 


Blessed Trinity (#9 All Class, #1 3A)

Lakeside Dekalb (#5 5A)

Pickens County (#6 4A)

Oconee (#8 3A)

Lovett (#3 2A)

Athens Academy (#8 A Private)

Top individuals: Tyra Holloway, North Cobb; Emily Dunn, Allatoona; Natalie Kile, Blessed Trinity; Bailey Willett, Blessed Trinity; Taylor Dove, Archer

Boys Varsity

       This race features Athens Academy, ranked #1 for A Private schools.  Lakeside Dekalb is the strongest team from the large classifications, and they will go head to head with Winder, Allatoona, Pickens County, Blessed Trinity, and Oconee. 

       Individually, look for Drew Bellows of Pickens to lead the way, but to followed by the pack of Kyle Dodd, Kurt Crymes, Wyatt Ingram, Adam Hearn, and Matt Munns.  While not as deep as the Championship race, this race will still be highly competitive and will be the last chance for most teams to see what they are capable of before Region and State.

Boys Varsity

Lakeside Dekalb (#5 5A)

Winder (#10 5A)

Pickens County (#7 4A)

Hephzipah (#10 4A)

Blessed Trinity (#6 3A)

Oconee County (#7 3A)

Lovett (#4 2A)

Athens Academy (#1 A Private)

Top individuals: Drew Bellows, Pickens County; Kyle Dodd, Archer; Kurt Crymes, Athens Academy; Wyatt Ingram, Pickens County; Adam Hearn, Athens Academy; Matt Munns, Blessed Trinity