Was it ever a nailbighter in the AA girls race as Wesleyan outlasted region 6-AA rival Westminster by 2 points 43 to 45. Now we know why both squads rested their aces in preparation for this battle. But the decision was reversed and a tie declared by the GHSA recognizing co-Champions. Emma Garrison from Union County defended her 2012 Individual title placing 1st in 19:10 as she steadily increased her lead throughout the race and winning by over 200 meters. Freshman Serena Tripodi of Lovett shocked many of the top contenders placing 2nd in 19:37.
A Public Girls- Towns County, Trion Go to Tiebreaker! Sarah Meadows Individual Champ Only a few fans got to witness the closet race of the meet as A Public Girls came down to a 6th runner tiebreaker to decide the team champion. Just 9 days earlier Trion defeated Towns by 12 points at the Area 4 meet. But, with more players in the mix with a few individuals factoring in from other Areas the game was afoot. In near darkness with temps dropping Towns and Trion tied with 60 apiece, but the Towns' 6th runner was far ahead of Trion's deciding the team title. Commerce finished 3rd followed by Hawkinsville.at the team Podium party! Frosh Sarah Meadows of Gordon Lee won her first of what could be many A Public GHSA individual titles placing 1st in 22:46. Defending champ Ansley Vardeman from Towns placed 2nd in 23:21.
GMC prophetically ran to the 1A Public team title. The Cadets had raced on a few real courses, and this experience played a huge factor in wnning the 1A Public Boys team title as predicted. GMC train hard and actively compete throughout the season. The Cadets put 4 boys in the top 8 spots to seal the team title. Will Archer led the charge placing 2nd in 17:48 followed by Tom Drew in 4th, Ethan Spires 7th and Chase Sheffield 8th. Jenkins County was team runnerup led by Mark Brannen, Commerce and Claxton also made the Podium and all these kids enjoyed the fruits of their labors on the victory stand. The individual race was a carbon copy of the Area 4 meet with Gordon Lee's Dylan Smith besting Archer with a respectable time of 17:39. Brannen of Jenkins County was 3rd in 17:49.
Northview out of Duluth had firmly established themselves as the team to beat early October and the 'Stage' at Carrollton didn't deter them as the Bolts' struck quickly, seizing their first Girls Cross Country team and Individual Championship in school history, Lindsay Billings ran a strong race, never losing pace separating from 2012 champ Alex Cameron defining herself as one of the top girls in Georgia and a lock to make the Atlanta Track Club's Foot Locker South 'Team Georgia' squad who had their best team finish ever in 2012.
It was business as usual for the Flowery Branch Falcons as they once again ran unselfishly, putting team ahead of individual goals winning the Boys state title scoring 84 points. Nicholas Ashmeade led the pack Saturday placing 8th in 16:55 Logan Poteet of Kell capped off a stellar season holding off challenges early and after loop 2 began winning the overall title in 16:13.
Kathryn Foreman was unflappable, followed her usual strategy going all out taking an early lead over Taylor Tuttle, picked it up in the 2nd Mile creating a cushion that was too large to gap winning her 2nd consecutive 1A Private individual title clocking the Girls 'Performance of the Day' in 18:42. Those crafty Pace Academy gals ran steady as they had all-season bouncing top ranked Darlington seizing the team title.
Reilly Friedman left the pack early and cruised to the Individual title in 16:29 for the Galloway Scots' easily defending his 2012 title. Landmark Christian came thu in clutchtime running epecially well as a team capturing the coveted 1A Private team title scoring 102 points outdistancing a game Darlington squad by 23 points and 2nd ranked Athens Christian by 28. Spencer Geerlings led the Eagles' win finishing 11th.
Round 4 of the heavyweight 6A programs Brookwood and Peachtree Ridge didn't disapoint. The anticipation built as results were compiled with Peachtree Ridge's depth making the difference for a 12 point margin of victory. Soph Avery Bussjager of Walton HS won her first 6A state title in 19:04.
Never doubt that Coach Dehnke's Brookwood squad isn't going to bring it at State. The Broncos have bounced up and down in the rankings all season, but on the biggest stage ran well enough to take the AAAAAA title with 101 points. Closest team race in history as 28 points separated 1-5. Back in 2007 only 21 points separated 1-5! Fun to watch...Kevin Mills was a man among boys running tall to his first state title.
Westminster's boys packed it in as usual and were too deep for Wesleyan to forge a challenge adding yet another state title to their resume. The Cats' pounced on 4 of the top 8 spots led by Individual champ Jordan Flowers. My darkhorse pick Marcus Gouthro from Riverside Military raised his game placing 2nd.
This was closer than most would have projected as Lagrange threw the gauntlet down and actually led Marist thru the first 4 runners giving defending champ and overwhelming favorite Marist a scare. Marist prevailed by just 17 points led by sr.Daniel Navarro who had an extremely rewarding race capturing the overall title clocking a 16:13. Hakeem Mustafaa will be on everyone's radar in 2014 Outdoor Track with his overall runnerup finish.
The Marist Girls were too deep, very talented and very well rested for this race proving they are the 'best of the best' in Georgia as their top 5 all earned All-State honors crushing Heritage-Catoosa scoring 22 points. Morgan Ilse laid down the first Girls sub 19: time of the day just cruising to another 4A individual title in 18:57.
What a magnificent race Blessed Trinity's girls had as they had taken it on the chin all season from region 6 rival and defending 2012 champ St.Pius and brought it when it mattered most with the first major upset of the day seizing the AAA title. Jenna Gearing was too strong for anyone after the first loop winning the AAA girls individual in 19:29 leading White County to a 3rd place Podium spot holding pace the entire race.
St.Pius X made it 3 titles straight under young coach Ryan McClay scoring 26 points fighting off a strong team effort by North Hall with 46 points. The Lions entire top 5 placed in the top 9 spots eating up the firm turf. Austin Sprague was the overall champ in 16:08 and was never challenged after the first mile creating a gap of up to 200 meters over Blessed Trinity's Matt Munns who placed 2nd in 16:39.
Girls top 3 teams are pretty obvious, then the #4 spot seems like anyone could grab it! Darlington has been ranked #1 since Week 4 and has improved steadily all season. On paper, this will be the most intense race in recent history for the Individual title as Tuttle, Foreman and Williams are the girls to watch from start to finish. The stage will be set as A Private races between 6A/5A, who will be getting a 'Curtain Call'?
What a completely different atmosphere the Class A Private championships will experience this Saturday at Carrollton compared to down in Macon (in the sticks) with thousands in attendance and racing between 6A/5A, wow! On the boys side, it seems as if there are 5 teams that have a great chance to win it all, which means the Championship will probably be decided by less than 5 points or less... Also means a really good team will get 5th and be left off the Podium. Reilly Friedman of Galloway will be looking to defend his crown in the individual race.
Here is a map of the re-routed Carrollton Course. One familiar with the State course will notice the old extreme U-turn behind the finish line has been removed, instead now a straight shot to the largest hill on the course normally lined with fans.
The AAA Girls of course will follow the Boys race and conditions at the bottom half of the hour will warm a few degrees as the sun rises over the trees, with the wind beginning to pickup to 7mph. Will Blessed Trinity push St.Pius X? Can anyone challenge Jenna Gearing of White County?
The State meet will kickoff at 7:45am with the very competitve AAA boys race with power programs like St.Pius X, North Hall and Woodward. Its projected to be almost perfect conditions, Partly Cloudy at 40 degrees, with a ESE wind at 5mph. Expect to see alot of long sleeves..and some serious racing down the finishing hill for team points.
The Marist girls are undoubtedly the best team in the state of Georgia. They displayed their depth at Region, as their 6-12 girls 'perfect scored' the field thru the top 7 places! However, the ladies from Heritage-Catoosa have done their best to close the gap this past 3 weeks, and if they come within 15-20 points of the War Eagles, Heritage-Catoosa should be in the top 5 'End of Season' All Class Rankings. Its going to a free for all for the next 5-6 team places. Morgan Ilse of Marist should run away unchallenged from the field with a flock of teamates behind her in the top 10.
Can Lagrange give Marist a run for their money? We'll find out Saturday morning when they lineup and leave it all on the course. Cross country is a true team sport. Having one, two or even three front runners is important but so often championship races are won by the 4,5 runners. Can the Lagrange duo of Coggins and Bowie hang with the Marist duo of Thurston and Navarro? Of the top individual contenders, only Hakeem Mustafaa of Shaw has tested Carrollton this season rocking out a 16:33 at 'Ortho' nearly 8 weeks ago in hotter temps.
The A Public Girls have the honor of racing last on what's sure to be a chewed up course with only meet officials, parents, their coaches and the timer left in attendance with the sun dropping behind the hill, elementary school getting their awards in near darkness (unless the lights are turned on across the street) The team race favors Area 4 champ Trion, defending champ Towns County. Indivdually it may be wide open as very few of these girls may have experience on the re-routed course.
With Area 2 Public reporting an hour ago, the picture has become clearer on what schools will contend for a state title. But don't count out some school from Area 1,3 coming out of the woods to make a run at a Podium spot. Most of these kids have not ran at a course like Carrollton, which will punish the flatlanders. From stats, it appears 3 runners have an opportunity to win the individual title.
A supreme display of gamesmanship was in play at the Region 6-AA meet, as Wesleyan and Westminster both sat their top 1-4? runners or more, perhaps outsmarting themselves, allowing Lovett to 'Carpe Diem' snatching the 1st place hardware. It's going to be a knockdown, dragout fight between these rival programs come Saturday afternoon. Defending champ Emma Garrison and Caroline Reed of Wesleyan could have a classic duel for the individual title.
A few weeks back, some would think Westminster was a lock to add another 1st place Cup in their huge trophy case. Wesleyan has picked it some at season's end, and ran well at 6-AA. The race for the boys individual title could come down to the final hill. Throughout the season, Jordan Flowers of Westminster has proven to be the favorite for the AA Boys overall title, but Matt Moratti of Wesleyan took the region 6-AA individual title.
The ladies’ side has turned into a three team battle for the title with regionals behind us. Overall, it’s been a fun and exciting season and can’t wait to watch all the drama unfold on Saturday. On the individual end, Lindsay Billings has established herself as a top-5 all-class runner with impressive recent performances at Coach Wood and region. Good luck to everyone who’s competing.
A once dominant Flowery Branch has watched its gap close as hungry teams like Clarkston, Northview, Greenbrier, Lakeside-Evans, and Sequoyah look to play spoiler. Individually, it appears to be a duel between Logan Poteet of Kell and Christian Bowles of Lakeside-Evans.
This may be the only race with a clear favorite, oh wait, favorites. Peachtree Ridge and Brookwood have been the top two teams all season. Currently, Peachtree Ridge has a 2 to 1 advantage head to head, but by a combined 3 points margin of victory. If either or both the Lady Lions and Lady Broncos don’t have a good day, their lie some Lady Hoyas and Lady Blue Devils ready to pounce.
2013 is a year of parity for the largest classification in Georgia Cross Country. Both in team and individual races, there are no clear favorites in the way that has become the custom in recent years. Coaches will be busy doing quick scores in anticipation of the team outcome, even shooting video of the finish. This will be race for the ages..
Let me definitely state, these aren't predictions for Saturday's championship race and there has been significant movement..... There are a few teams who are 'unpredictable' and have been inconsistent that may 'rise up' or falter at Carrollton. For the Girls, Darlington stayed atop 1A and Providence Christian had a strong race on the tougher ACS course perhaps closing the gap enough to give the Lady Tigers a real race for the State title. Landmark Christian's Boys surged to #1 after a strong win at Region 5-A, putting a bullseye on their backsides after lunch this Saturday. However, the Boys race is totally up for grabs in my analysis. Whoever brings it and leaves it, ALL on the course will emerge as the State Champ.