But they won’t know for sure until they run with a full group.
The Lady Wolverines appear to be on an upswing after finishing fourth overall in Saturday’s Class AAAAA/AAAAAA race in the Clara Bowl Invitational at Berry College.
Despite not having its entire starting lineup, four of Woodstock’s runners placed in the top 30, with Alexandra Melehan recording a ninth-place a time of 20 minutes, 10 seconds.
“We’re ahead of where we were last year, and we’re deeper,” Woodstock coach Kirk Scharich said. “We’ve been training pretty hard. This is our first meet, and we’re happy with where we are. We’re missing a couple of girls who could have helped us out, but I think we’re better and deeper, and we’re looking to have a good team.”
Morgan O’Toole also finished in the 20-minute range for Woodstock at 20:44, good enough for 19th overall, and Rachel Steppe came in 23rd at 21:03. Makensie Block wasn’t far behind Woodstock’s top three, finishing 26th in 21:03.
“If we have seven girls who could break 20, it would be phenomenal,” Scharich said. “We’re working on that.”
The sixth-place Etowah girls also finished strong in their first 5K meet of the season, after doing well at the shorter Walton Stage Races two weeks ago.
The bulk of the Lady Eagles also ran in a clump with the top four-runners, finishing within a minute of one another.
Finley Billings led the pack and was the first Etowah runner to cross the finish line at 21:26, good for 38th. Shelby Rensel came in a fraction of a second behind her Billings at 40th.
Kingley Green was 51st overall in 21:45, and Kyla Resnick took 55th in 21:49.
“We wanted to get our girls to pace each other and run together and, for the most part, they did that,” Etowah coach Jesse Howard said. “We had five girls that finished between 21:24 and 22:04. It was a good showing. For the most part, we did what we were supposed to do.”
Etowah also scored a top-10 finish in the boys race, coming in eighth. Woodstock was 11th, Sequoyah was 15th and Creekview 19th.
Michael Perona paced the Eagles’ effort with a 22nd-place run of 17:20. Blake Beavers (17:30) was 32nd, and Brian Matthews (17:32) 36th.
Garrett Metropol (18:18) and Brett Merrall (18:26) also contributed to the Eagles’ scoring.
As for Woodstock, J.C. Cornett had the best individual finish of a county runner, coming in 10th at 16:52. Owen Bailey wasn’t far behind, 14th in 17:00.
“We have a young team,” Scharich said. “We have J.C. as a senior, and Owen stepped it up. Our third guy’s a freshman, and our fourth guy’s a freshman. I think we can get there. We’re just gearing up for October.”
Corey Champion (18:28), Ryan Norrell (18:37) and John Baumgartner (18:37) also finished for the Wolverines.
Sequoyah was led by Christopher Costa, who was 29th in (17:26). Zach Moore (17:44), Dylan Carson (18:15), Blake Wise (18:42) and Rees Hatch (19:38) also scored for the Chiefs.
Brennan Garriques (17:50) led Creevkiew, bolstered by Grant Slater (18:33), Hunter Carter (18:50), Austin Ryan (18:51) and Jesse Wood (19:34).
Elsewhere in the girls competition among the top two classifications, Creekview was 19th and Sequoyah 28th.
The Lady Grizzlies’ Rachel Garabedian (21:23) was 37th overall. Lauren Johnson (22:25), Rachel Boulineau (22:50), Lera McNamara (23:01) and Marisa Rink (24:02) also scored.
Morgan Free (22:38), Viviana Lopez (23:28), Jessica Weems (24:15), Megan McNeal (24:55) and Sydney Webb (26:00) led the Lady Chiefs’ contingent.