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Cross country runners prepare for state meet
by Greg Oshust
November 07, 2013 09:14 AM | 1780 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
Marist's Daniel Navarro sprints to the finish on his way to winning the boys' race at the Region 6AAAA meet at Marist last Monday.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Marist's Daniel Navarro sprints to the finish on his way to winning the boys' race at the Region 6AAAA meet at Marist last Monday.
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Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
From left, Marist runners Courtney Marburger and Myriam Shehata run side by side during the girls' race at the Region 6AAAA meet at Marist last Monday.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
From left, Marist runners Courtney Marburger and Myriam Shehata run side by side during the girls' race at the Region 6AAAA meet at Marist last Monday.
slideshow
State championships will be up for grabs as local runners compete at the GHSA state cross country championships in Carrollton Saturday.

In the Class AAAAA girls’ race, Riverwood’s Anna Hayden and North Springs’ Kuersten Gallivan will be competing for top-10 individual finishes.

Marist is the team to beat in both the AAAA boys’ and girls’ team competitions.

The War Eagles are expected to face challenges from LaGrange in the boys’ race as well as Heritage of Catoosa in the girls’ competition.

Defending AAAA individual champion Michael Thurston and last year’s runner up Daniel Navarro are once again the top contenders in the boys’ individual race, while Morgan Ilse is the one to beat in the girls’ event.

“Everybody is healthy and everybody is running well,” Marist coach Eric Heintz said. “We’re OK. I’m confident at this point.”

The War Eagles come in with plenty of momentum after sweeping the boys’ and girls’ team championships at the Region 6AAAA meet at Marist last Monday.

The Marist boys scored 22 points to finish far ahead of runner-up Grady (75), while the girls’ squad — despite holding out their top five runners — finished with 15 points to win convincingly over second-place Grady (71).

Navarro won the boys race with a time of 17 minutes, 12 seconds, while Courtney Marburger (20:47) was the girls’ winner as War Eagle runners finished in the top seven spots..

St. Pius X aims for its fourth consecutive boys’ team championship, while it is also expected to contend in the girls’ race in AAA.

Austin Sprague is the favorite to successfully defend his AAA boys’ individual title for the Golden Lions.

St. Pius won both the boys’ and girls’ team titles at the 6AAA meet in Douglasville.

The boys’ team scored 22 points to finish ahead of runner-up Woodward (45), while the girls’ squad beat out second-place Blessed Trinity (40).

Sprague won the boys’ individual race with a time of 15:01, while teammate Joseph Ferrugia (15:26) was second as St. Pius took four of the top five boys’ individual spots.

St. Pius’ Margaret Crawford (18:47) was the girls’ individual winner as the Golden Lions placed six runners in the top 10.

“Region was probably our most solid performance all year,” St. Pius coach Ryan McClay. “I was very pleased with it. They ran fast times, but it was a fast course. Carrollton won’t be, so we have to prepare for that. But we’ve been preparing ourselves for Carrollton all year. So I feel confident about our chances. If we are patient and run our race, then I think we will do very well. This group is very focused right now and having a lot of fun this season. I’m really excited to see what they can do [this] weekend. We’ve been having our best season ever, so it will be great to finish that off with a win.”

Last year’s boys’ runner up Woodward is also expected to contend in AAA.

Westminster looks for its sixth consecutive state boys’ championship and its third girls’ title in four years in AA, while Jordan Flowers will aim for his second AA boys’ individual title in three years.

Lovett is also expected to contend for a top-four awards podium finish on both the girls’ and boys’ side in AA, with Hailey Branch and Serena Tripodi expected to contend for the individual girls’ title.

Westminster won the boys’ team championship at the Region 6AA meet at Wesleyan last Thursday, scoring 24 points to finish ahead of runner-up and host Wesleyan (37) as well as third-place Lovett (86).

Flowers finished second with a time of 17:46 behind Wesleyan’s Matt Moratti (17:38) in the boys’ individual race and was among six Wildcats to finish in the top 10.

Lovett clinched the 6AA girls’ team title, scoring 26 points to place ahead of second-place Westminster (39).

Branch led the Lions with a second-place individual finish and a time of 20:56.

Lovett and Westminster dominated the girls’ individual top 10, with the Lions placing five runners and the Wildcats’ four.

Pace and Holy Innocents’ will be among the teams contending for the team title in both the Class A private school boys’ and girls’ competitions.

Galloway’s Reilly Friedman will try to win his second straight Class A private school boys’ individual title, while Whitefield’s Robby Keough, Pace’s Josh Rogers and Holy Innocents’ runner Warner Ray are also expected to contend for top spots.

In the Region 5A meet at Our Lady of Mercy in Fairburn, Pace won the girls’ team championship — scoring 56 points to finish far ahead of runner-up Paideia (85). Holy Innocents’ (93) was third.

Atlanta International’s Helen Williams ran a time of 18:09.96 to finish a very close second behind Landmark Christian’s Kathryn Foreman (18:09.89).

In the 5A boys’ team standings, Pace scored 54 points to finish runner up in the boys’ team standings behind champion Landmark Christian (44). Holy Innocents’ (56) was third and Galloway (84) fourth.

Friedman won the boys’ individual title with a time of 15:57, with Rogers (16:39) finishing second and Ray (17:12) fourth.

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