Among the schools represented will be five from within Cherokee County’s borders — Woodstock, Etowah, Sequoyah, Creekview and River Ridge.
Each school, with the exception of Woodstock, will be fielding at least one team at the meet, with Creekview, Etowah and River Ridge each fielding two.
Woodstock, though it failed to qualify for state as a team, did advance two of its individuals from the Region 5AAAAAA boys race — J.C. Cornett and Owen Bailey — through their top-six finishes.
Though winning a state championship may be a stretch for any team in the county, many have their sights set on a top-10 finish.
One of those is Sequoyah’s boys team, which finished 10th in last year’s Class AAAA meet.
For coach James Adams, a top-10 finish would be satisfying, but the meet would be considered a greater success if the Chiefs could improve on last year’s performance.
“Any time you finish inside of the top 10 in state is great, like we did last year, but this year, we hope to do even better,” Adams said. “We would be very happy if we did better.”
Leading Sequoyah will be junior Chris Costa, who finished third in the Region 7AAAAA meet two weeks ago at Boling Park with a time of 16 minutes, 17.67 seconds.
According to Adams, Costa’s personal goal is to break inside of the top 15.
Though he won’t have a full complement of Woodstock teammates to back him up, Cornett stands a strong chance at a high finish.
Despite battling a high fever at the region meet last week, he completing the course in 16:00.61 — the fastest time any runner from the county has recorded all year.
After twice racing this season while sick — the first being the county championships, which Cornett won despite suffering from flu-like symptoms — Woodstock coach Kirk Scharich expects his lead runner to be a threat to finish inside of the top 10 — something he failed to do last year.
“Last year, his hamstring knotted up, and he ended up finishing outside of the top 50,” Scharich said. “Now, he is feeling great and is focused on breaking into the top 10. He has gotten better every week and had some good workouts recently, so we are hoping that he has at least one more good race left in him.”
River Ridge will help kick off the day’s racing in the Class AAAA meet at 8:30 a.m., followed by the girls at 9:15. The Knights’ teams made it to Carrollton with a pair of top-four finishes at last week’s Region 7AAAA meet, including the boys individual title won by Joe Mayes.
The Class AAAAAA boys will begin racing at 11:30 a.m., followed by the girls at 12:15 p.m. The Etowah girls and the two Woodstock individuals will be a part of those races.
The AAAAA boys race will commence at 1 p.m., followed by the girls race at 1:45. Creekview will have a team contingent in both races, with the Sequoyah boys also competing.