The Region 4AAAAA and 5AAAAA meets will share a course, taking over the Cobb County Corps Property in Acworth today and Saturday, respectively.
The 5AAAA meet will take place Saturday at the Clinton Nature Preserve in Villa Rica, with Allatoona in the 7AAA meet today at the Davis Cattle Ranch in Ringgold. Also competing today will be Whitefield Academy in the 9A meet at Our Lady of Mercy in Fairburn, while Mount Paran Christian, Walker and North Cobb Christian will be in the 6A meet at the Darlington School in Rome.
The top four teams, and top six individuals, in each meet will qualify for the Nov. 5 state championships in Carrollton.
Harrison, with its top-ranked girls team in the gatfxc.com all-classification poll, is the team to beat in 4AAAAA.
“We know that we are the favorites, and we hope to live up to that billing,” Harrison co-coach Kent Simmons said. “Our goal is to win region and get ourselves prepared for the state meet. It should be an exciting day of racing with some of the top individuals and teams in the state competing.”
Harrison’s Kaylee Isaacs is the clear favorite to win the girls individual title, with teammates Alex Maeder, Maria Boff and Elyse Bray, Hillgrove’s Claire Warren and North Cobb’s Tyra Holloway also expected to garner top finishes.
In the boys race, Kennesaw Mountain is the favorite, while Harrison and Hillgrove are the other top contenders.
Kennesaw Mountain’s Andrew Maritim is the favorite in the boys race, while Hillgrove’s Chris Stuart and Harrison’s Jeremy McClung are also expected to contend.
Walton is the team to beat in both the boys and girls races in 5AAAAA. The Lady Raiders are aiming for their third straight region title, and 19th in school history, while the Raiders are aiming for a 25th region crown, but just their first since 2007.
“We’re excited to compete in the Region 5AAAAA meet,” Walton coach Travis Gower said. “Both groups hope to have a solid race as we prepare for the state meet week later. At this point in the season, we hope to stay healthy and run hard. If we do those things, good things will happen.”
Walton’s Brian Sullivan is the favorite to win the boys individual title, with teammates Kenan Farmer and R.J. Torres also in the mix.
Lassiter’s Marcie Merriman is a strong bet to win her second straight 5AAAAA title, while teammate Morgan Ainslie and Walton’s Alexa Womack are among the other top contenders.
In 5AAAA, Pope appears to be the team to beat in both the boys and girls races.
While the Greyhound boys lost top runner Patrick Fleming to an injury, they still have a number of other runners who will contend for top spots, including Justin Howell, Kyle Rose and Gunnar Stormack.
“The boys are looking strong,” Pope coach Christine Dahlhauser said. “We lost Patrick Fleming to a broken foot last week, but the boys are strong enough to make a run for the region championship. Our boys team is filled with depth and will be impressive, even without Patrick.”
The Lady Greyhounds are a little shy of being of a sure bet to win the 5AAAA girls race, with Alexander and Chapel Hill also expected to contend, but Pope’s Molly Schenck is the clear favorite individually.
“The girls side is a bit more uncertain,” Dahlhauser said. “We have Molly Schenck, who will be shooting for an individual region championship. We just got back our No. 2 girl, Jami Joyner, who had been out most of the season due to mono. That will help the girls get their top-four spot and the trip to Carrollton secured. The girls are running well and should have some great performances this Saturday.”
Allatoona is the strong favorite to sweep the boys and girls team titles in the 7AAA meet.
Emily Dunn is favored to win the girls individual title for the Lady Buccaneers, while Thomas Decarreau, Corbin Williams, Christian Reeves and Jackson Peak should all be among the top finishers on the boys side.
“Both teams will run well, and another championship will be just what we need to go into Carrollton and run to place in the top four teams in AAA and get onto the podium,” Allatoona coach Dave Ravenscraft said. “It’s been our goal for the entire season, and we are ready.”
The Whitefield Academy boys, led by defending Class A champion Cameron Thornton, are a strong bet for a top-four finish in 9A, while Mount Paran Christian, Walker and North Cobb Christian each have good chances of qualifying for a trip to Carrollton in both the 6A boys and girls races.