By Ricky Dimon
With one month to go in the cross country season, many top teams throughout Georgia made road trips last weekend to begin their stretch runs to the state meet. Peachtree Ridge’s boys came home with a title from the Bale N Trail Cross Country Original in Jacksonville, Fla. The Lions dominated the field with four runners in the top 10, including Kevin Millis’ individual triumph in 15:37.
At the Wendy’s Invitational in Charlotte, N.C., Etowah turned in impressive performances. The girls finished fifth in their heat with an average time of 19:51. Etowah’s boys tied for third with Flowery Branch, the No. 1 team in Class AAAAA. Both squads posted average times of 16:29. Westminster’s boys finished third in the Class AAA heat and were led by Jordan Flowers’ eighth-place showing in 16:08.
No out-of-state competition was more heavily-populated by Georgia schools than the Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, N.C. The St. Pius boys raced to an eighth-place performance in the Champions heat, just ahead of Brookwood (10th) and Mill Creek (14th) and Marist (17th). All four of those teams boasted average times between 16:17 and 16:34. Austin Sprague paced St. Pius in 13th overall at 15:24. Three Georgia representatives finished in the top 10 of the girls seeded heat at the GACCF—Mill Creek (second), Centennial (third) and Dunwoody (ninth). Mill Creek’s Lauren Hovis came in second with a blistering time of 18:56.
One of this weekend’s biggest events is the Asics Cross Country Invitational. Alexander, the host school and famous for producing lightning-fast times, will welcome a strong field that includes Blessed Trinity, LaGrange, Landmark Christian, North Hall, Peachtree Ridge and Woodward Academy. The Golden Eagle Invitational at Eagle’s Landing High School will feature Chapel Hill, McIntosh, North Oconee and Westminster. Among a contingent of teams heading out of state to Furman University on Saturday are Athens Academy, Collins Hill, Milton and Parkview.