On the girls side, Etowah is the favorite for the county title. The Lady Eagles are currently ranked fourth in the state across all classifications, according to ga.milesplit.com.
Four years removed from its last county title, Etowah has a balanced team led by Kingsley Green and Kyla Resnick, but there isn’t much separation between those two in the rest of the team. Each of the Lady Eagles’ five varsity runners have posted times good enough to land them in the top 10 this season.
Challenging Etowah will be Creekview and Woodstock.
The Lady Grizzlies are coming off their best weekend of the season, running a team average of just over 20 minutes at the Westover Invitational, which was good enough to place the team second in the field of 26.
Over the course of the season, Creekview has finished in the top two in four of its six races, and the team boasts four of the top 20 times in Class AAAAA.
Today’s race might be a bit of a challenge, however, as Creekview will compete without Rachel Boulineau and Lauren Johnson, who suffered injuries during the week.
Creekview coach Michael Sinco said he is hopeful of having Boulineau and Johnson back in time for the Region 7AAAAA meet Nov. 2, back at Boling Park.
“We are hopeful they will be back this season, as both (are) critical to the team’s success,” Sinco said.
Instead, the Lady Grizzlies will look to Camille Fahrnbauer and Lera McNamara. Annie Conrad and Kendel Bennett, who normally compete for the spot as the team’s fifth runner, will both be called upon.
Defending county champion Woodstock shouldn’t be counted out of the hunt.
The Lady Wolverines will look to reigning county champ Alexandra Melehan and Morgan O’Toole, last year’s runner-up and a former county champ. Other runners in the mix for top-10 finishes are Catherine Moreau, Taylor Poole and Alayna Cagle.
“We know it will be a tough battle with Etowah and Creekview running well,” Woodstock coach Kirk Scharich said.
River Ridge’s Kali Kimball may also push for a top-10 spot, while Jessica Weems leads the way at Sequoyah’s girls.
On the boys side, Etowah is one again as the favorite, although Sequoyah is clearly in the mix.
The Eagles are ranked eighth in the state across all classifications, while Sequoyah is second in Class AAAAA. That isn’t to make light of Cherokee or Creekview, which are ranked in the top 15 of their respective classifications and made big statements at the Westover Invitational.
Etowah, the defending county champion, will be led by Blake Beavers, Sam Donley and Michael Perona.
As competitive as the team competition will be, the individual title is just as coveted. The battle looks to be between Creekview’s Brennan Garriques, Sequoyah’s Chris Costa and Woodstock’s Owen Bailey.
Garriques and Bailey have posted the county’s only sub-16-minute times, with their respective marks of 15:51 and 15:47. Costa is averaging the fastest times in the county and had bested Garriques three times, albeit only by seconds on each occasion.
The only time Bailey, Costa and Garriques have competed in the same meet this season was at the Berry Invitational, where Bailey took the top spot among the trio by nearly 15 seconds.
Joining Costa in the quest for the team title are Ryan McNeal and Zach Moore.
Other runners expected to place in the top 10 include Cherokee’s Steven Driscoll and Taylor Scarborough, and Etowah’s Perona, Donley and Beavers.
Behind Bailey at Woodstock, Corey Champion will also compete for a top-10 finish. The team is rounded out by Austin Bailey, Josh Catt, Josh Baumgartner, Hayden Venable and Andrew Morgan.
The young River Ridge team will be led by Nathan Trottier.
“Our program is small, but hard-working,” River Ridge coach Samantha Fraser said. “We are looking forward to a fast race (today) and we will be running our region meet at Roper Park (in Jasper) in a few weeks.”