By Ricky Dimon
Region championships took center stage on the cross country trails throughout Georgia over the past week, offering sneak previews of the upcoming state meet.
Marietta and Harrison traded titles in Region 4-AAAAAA, which features some of the best teams in the state. The Marietta boys edged host Harrison by 12 points last Wednesday after seeing its top four runners finish in a 16-second span between 16:01 (Khayvonn Benson, second overall) and 16:17. Roles were reversed in the girls heat, with Harrison getting the best of Marietta by five points. Marietta had the first, second and third individuals, but the Hoyas won with depth by placing five racers in the top 11. The Blue Devils’ Mary Jeanne Assinzo prevailed in 18:51.
In Region 5-AAAAAA last Saturday, Walton and Etowah finished first and second, respectively, in both the boys and girls meets. The girls showdown could not have been closer, with Walton triumphing by a single point. The Raiders also boasted the individual champion in Avery Bussjager, who clocked a time of 18:19. Both Walton and Etowah put three runners in the top 10 of the boys race, but the Raiders’ depth at the fourth and fifth spots gave them a relatively comfortable victory. Kenan Farmer of Walton broke the tape in 15:44, three seconds ahead of Woodstock’s Owen Bailey.
St. Pius blitzed the competition in both Region 6-AAA competitions last Tuesday. The Golden Lion boys turned in a blistering average time of 15:46, led by Austin Sprague’s 15:01. St. Pius placed all five of its point-scorers in the top 10 to coast past Woodward and Blessed Trinity. Its girls also won comfortably, in part thanks to Margaret Crawford’s individual triumph in 18:47.
Most of the top teams in Class AA hail from Region 6, which competed last Thursday at Wesleyan. The Lovett girls took advantage of Wesleyan’s decision to rest some of its top runners as the Lions defeated both third-place Wesleyan and runner-up Westminster. Lovett took the second, third and fourth spots after Wesleyan’s Jordan Zimmerman won the race in 20:43. The boys side resulted in a two-team battle between Westminster and Wesleyan. Wesleyan put two runners in the top three, including champion Matt Moratti in 17:38, but Westminster had five in the first seven to win by 13 points. The Wildcats were led by Jordan Flowers’ time of 17:46.
The 2013 GHSA State Cross Country Championships will take place this Saturday at Carrollton High School.