The 2022 Cross Country regular and post-season welcomed several new and returning athletes ready to make an impact. This season we had a total of 107 registrants. Building up towards this year's USATF Georgia Association Cross Country Championships held in Carrollton, Georgia, athletes knew that they had to place in the top individual and team standings to advance to the 2022 USATF Region 4 Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships.
Almost all of Atlanta Track Club Youth Team athletes advanced to the regional meet held in Fairburn, Georgia. At the regional meet, athletes had to finish top 30 individually or in the top three as a team, to advance to the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships on December 10.
*Given the number of athletes we had this year, we had to split some of our age groups into an A and B team.
USATF Georgia Association Cross Country Championships Performances:
Cold and windy conditions kicked off and carried on throughout the USATF Georgia Association Cross Country Championships. The first race that morning was the boy's 9-10 race. The athletes leading the team were Connor Schuette and August Heintz. All five athletes finished in the top 45 spots at the state meet. The 9-10 boys' fifth-place team finish advanced them to the regional meet in Fairburn, Georgia.
Next on the starting line were the 11-12 girls. The Club had two teams due to the number of athletes competing. The athletes leading team A to a third-place finish were Audrey Anderson and Sophie Eckmann. Leading team B to a fifth-place finish were Jessie Roberson and Wynne Breland. All athletes finished in the top 45 spots. Team A and B's third and fifth-place standings advanced them to the regional meet.
With two age groups already advancing, the next age group to compete was the 11-12 boys. The 11-12 boys finished second. Scoring The Club another podium finish. All five athletes were in the top 45. Leading the pack that day was Declan Schuette finishing third and Zachary Griffin finishing fourth. Henry Haer, Ethan Hofmekler, and Charles Payson rounded out the team's second-place finish. All boys in this age range advanced to the regional meet.
Feeding off of the youth team's momentum the 13-14 boys secured another podium finish. The athletes leading team A to a 2nd-place finish were Locke Attwood, Levi Howard, Will Ellen, Declan Chen, and Miles Heintz. The 11-12 B team finished 7 overall. There were six 11-12 boys who finished in the top 45. All athletes in this division advanced to the regional meet.
Reese Sellers was the only athlete for The Club in the girl's 13-14 age division. She may have been racing alone but she sure did have the cheers from the youth team guiding her to a 25th-place finish. Seller's finish advanced her to the regional meet.
Overall a successful day for the youth team and first-time coaches for The Club Rochelle Kanuho and Mike Brown. Volunteer assistant Francoise Levinson also supported this year's youth team.
2022 USATF Region 4 Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships Performances:
A week later on November 19, another cold and rainy morning set the scene for the regional meet. In the 9-10 boys race, leading the pack again was August Heintz, finishing 26 overall with a time of 12:56 for the 3k race. His teammate Thomas O'neal was right beside him as he finished 27 overall. Both boys advanced to the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships.
Next to compete were the 11-12 girls, Audrey Anderson led the team, finishing 12 overall with a time of 12:21. Sophie Eckmann followed right after and finished 16 overall with a time of 12:41. A huge personal best for Eckmann. Wynne Breland rounded out the team's third-place finish with her 30th-place finish. All 11-12 girls advanced to the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships.
Next to race were the 11-12 boys. Leading the team that day was Zachary Griffin, with a third-place finish overall. Declan Sheutte was right beside his teammate again as he finished fifth overall. Both boys advanced to the national meet.
As the afternoon was rounding out all but two races were left, the 13-14 boys and girls sections. The boy's team finished fourth, two points shy of 3rd place. Athletes leading their team that day were Locke Attwood, Levi Howard, and Declan Chen. In the girl's 13-14 division Reese Sellers, the only athlete for the youth team in her division fought hard and fell short of one spot to advance to nationals.
Athletes who qualified for nationals continued to practice in preparation to represent the Atlanta Track Club at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in College Station, Texas. To see how Atlanta Track Club youth team placed, click here.
- Article written by Staff member