GHSA Cross Country State Championships Preview

Photo: GHSA

The high school cross country season will come to an end this weekend at the GHSA Cross Country State Championships, presented by Atlanta Track Club, at the Carrollton cross country course at Carrollton High School.

The past boys champions: Lambert (Class AAAAAAA), Alexander (Class AAAAAA), Clarkston (Class AAAAA), St. Pius (Class AAAA), East Jackson (Class AAA), Bleckley County (Class AA), Landmark Christian (A-Private) and Georgia Military (A-Public).

The 2016 boys champions who have won multiple times: Alexander (Class AAAA, 2000; Class AAAAAA, 2016), Clarkston (Class AAAAA, 2014-16), St. Pius (Class AAA, 1993-94, 1996, 2010-13; Class AAAA, 2014; Class AAAA, 2016), Bleckley County (Class AA, 2015-16), Landmark Christian (Class A, 1995-96, 1999-00, 2002-04; Class A-Private, 2013, 2015-16), Georgia Military (Class A-Public, 2012-13, 2016)

The past girls champions: South Forsyth (Class AAAAAAA), Harrison (Class AAAAAA), Woodland-Cartersville (Class AAAAA), Marist (Class AAAA), Westminster (Class AAA), Bleckley County (Class AA), Landmark Christian (A-Private) and Towns County (A-Public).

The 2016 girls champions who have won multiple times: Harrison (Class AAAAA, 2000-01; Class AAAAAA, 2016), Marist (Class AAA, 1991, 1996, 1998-99; Class AAAA, 2000-04, 2008-16), Westminster (Class AA, 1981, 1996-99, 2009-11; Class AAA, 1984-90, 1992-95, 2000-04, 2014-16), Landmark Christian (Class A, 2003-07, 2011; Class A-Private, 2012, 2014-16), Towns County (Class A-Public, 2012-16)

In Class AAAAAAA boys, Milton is a favorite and is primed to grab its first-ever state title. Sam Bowers (15:10.08 in Area 3, Region 4 meet), Nicolas Yanek (15:15.38 in Area 3, Region 4 meet) and Michael Malkowski (15:30.08 in Area 3, Region 4 meet) are the front-runners for Milton. Walton, which finished second behind Milton in the Area 3, Region 4 meet with a 16:20 average, is a top contender.

On the girls side of Class AAAAAAA, South Forsyth won its area meet over Milton with a 18.52 average and holds the top ranking in the final pre-state polls. Marietta, which won the 2-AAAAAAA meet with an 18.48 average time, is ranked No. 2.

In Class AAAAAA, the Pope boys team holds the No. 1 ranking entering the state meet. Pope took the 7-AAAAAA championship over No. 2 Cambridge with a 16:39 average. Alexander, which finished first in Region 5-AAAAAA with a 16:18 average, is a close third.

On the girls side of the class, the race for the top spot at the podium will be a close one. Creekview upset region/state champion Harrison, which marked the first Hoyas loss to a Class AAAAAA team since 2016. The Alexander Lady Cougars will be a top contender as well.

In Class AAAAA boys, McIntosh and Starr’s Mill will take their crosstown rivalry to Carrollton as the top contenders in the class. Starr’s Mill’s Nick Nyman placed second in the Alexander/Asics run with a time of 14:54.10. McIntosh’s Zach Jaeger placed second in 3-AAAAA with a time of 15:34.26. Clarkston, which placed first at 5-AAAAA, is ranked third entering the state meet.

For the Class AAAAA girls, McIntosh is the top-ranked team entering the state meet. The Lady Chiefs won 3-AAAAA with an average time of 19:07, edging out No. 2 Woodland-Cartersville. Jones County’s Erin Leonard is a top individual to watch as she placed second in the Alexander/Asics meet with a time of 17:30.47. A close second is McIntosh’s Megan Uszynski who placed first in the 3-AAAAA meet with a time of 18:16.53.

In Class AAAA, the boys rankings are full of talent. There were four Class AAAA boys squads in the Top 10 in the Coach Wood meet. Marist leads the field, but No. 2 Blessed Trinity, No. 3 St. Pius and No. 4 North Oconee will be serious challengers this weekend.

For the girls, Marist is the front-runner and placed third at the Coach Wood meet with a time of 19:58. No. 2 White County, No. 3 St. Pius and No. 4 Blessed Trinity will factor into the race this weekend as well.

Class AAA is set for a coin-flip finish on Saturday as the top-ranked Westminster boys will fend off No. 2 Dawson County, No. 3 North Hall, No. 4 Pace Academy and No. 5 East Jackson. The Wildcats took the 5-AAA crown with an average of 17:00. Dawson beat North Hall by just three points to take the 7-AAA title, and Pace Academy finished behind Westminster in the 5-AAA race with a 17:44 average.

The girls side of the class has been ruled by Westminster. The Lady Wildcats have won three Class AAA titles in a row. If they win the team event this season, it will mark the 30th championship for Westminster. Lovett and Pace Academy will be the front-runners for the battle for second. Westminster’s Naima Turbes won the Alexander/Asics meet with a time of 17:27.53.

In Class AA, Bleckley County swept the boys and girls events last season and could repeat the sweep again this year. On the boys side, Bleckley’s Garrett Rogers placed first in the Fourth Annual Red meet with a time of 16:47.15. However, the top-ranked Banks County boys placed first in the 8-AA meet with a 17:58 average and could overtake the younger Bleckley team.

On the girls side, top-ranked Bleckley County cruised to a 3-AA title with an average time of 23:29. Second-ranked Jeff Davis, however, placed first at the 2-AA meet with a better time than Bleckley (22:28) and could pose a threat at state. Bleckley’s Austin Perez placed second in the Fourth Annual Red meet with a time of 20:34.88. Teammate Macy Moe finished third at the Red meet with a time of 20:57.78.

In Class A-Public, the Georgia Military boys will be trying for their second title in a row. No. 2 Gordon Lee, No. 3 Schley County, No. 4 Baconton Charter and No. 5 Seminole County will be top challengers.

For the girls, Top-ranked Gordon Lee’s Gracie O’Neal won the 26th Ridge Ferry Invitational with a time of 18:19.92. Third-ranked Towns County has had a lock on the girls A-Public championship for the past five years.

In Class-A Private, top-ranked Landmark Christian has been at the top of the class for the past two seasons and will by vying for its 11th team title. Landmark is led by Zack Truitt and Kameron Jackson. Landmark took the Area 3 title with a 17:27 average. No. 2 Hebron Christian won Area 2 with a 17:41 average. No. 3 Whitefield Academy placed first at the Area 4 meet with a 17:50 average.

On the girls side, Landmark’s Mary Kellison Thorne placed third at the Alexander/Asics meet with a time of 17:52.84 and will lead her team. Defending champion Landmark has swept the boys and girls titles the last two seasons. This year will provide a great chance for a three-peat of sweeps.

The events will kick off at 9 a.m. on Friday with the Class AAAAA boys run, followed by the Class AAAAA girls at 9:45 a.m. (schedule below). On Saturday, the Class AA boys will begin at 8 a.m., and the final event of the day will be the Class A-Public girls, who run at 2:45 p.m. Live results will be provided by Perfect Timing Group.

GHSA Cross Country Championship Schedule Friday, Nov. 3

9:00 – AAAAA Boys
9:45 – AAAAA Girls
10:30 – A Private Boys
11:15 – A Private Girls
12:00 – AAAAAAA Boys
12:45 – AAAAAAA Girls

Saturday, Nov. 4
8:00 – AA Boys
8:45 – AA Girls
9:30 – AAA Boys
10:15 – AAA Girls
11:00 – AAAA Boys
11:45 – AAAA Girls
12:30 – AAAAAA Boys
1:15 – AAAAAA Girls
2:00 – A-Public Boys
2:45 – A-Public Girls


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