The race for the individual win in the Varsity Girls Championship race could come down to the final meters with a strong field lining up under the lights in Cartersville on Friday. Here is a look at some of the top seeded athletes, many who are racing each other for the first time in 2021.
Ruby Little - Marist School
Little is coming off a massive performance at the adidas XC Invitational in Cary, NC where she ran 17:49 to finish second in the Championship Race. It's only the second race of the season and a 1:20 second improvement over her season opener at the Carollton Orthopaedic Invitational. Little heads into Wingfoot with the fastest time of any Georgia runner in 2021, but she's twice been a runner-up in the results. She'll come to Cartersville hoping the third time spells victory.
Caroline Hood - Pace Academy
Hood is undefeated in 2021. She opened her season with an 18:03 at the Zack Wansley Invitation, more than a minute faster than the second place runner. She won the North Georgia Championships by more than 40 seconds and outkicked Little to win the Carrolton Orthopaedic Invitational earlier this month. The Pace Academy sophomore is certainly a favorite on paper, but this will be the toughest field she's faced so far.
Joyce has the most experience at Wingfoot, running here for the fourth time this year. In the time trial format in 2020, she finished 4th overall. This year, the Atlanta International School senior should be Hood and Little's toughest competition. Joyce has only had to race hard once this year. At the AT&T Panther Invite, she came out on top in a sprint finish to break the tape over Samantha McGarity of Harrison. And if it comes down to a kick in Cartersville, the 2:11 800m runner might be too tough to catch.
Grace Von Biberstein
Von Biberstein won last weekend's Warpath Invitational by more than 30 seconds, giving her two victories in two races this season. The St. Pius X junior also won the Florida Horse Park Invitational earlier this month. Von Biberstein hasn't raced any of the top seeded runners in this year's Wingfoot in 2021, so it will be interesting to see if the increased competition reveals another gear.
Kelly Ann Sutterfield/Katie Hamfeldt
Two other seniors to watch are Sutterfield and Hamfeldt of Blessed Trinity. They finished 21st and 35th respectively in the 2019 Wingfoot XC Classic when their former teammate Hannah Minuitti won the race. Now, they are the Titan's top runners. They finished 3rd and 4th at the Bob Blastow Early Bird Invitational and Hamfeldt was third at the Carrollton Orthopaedic Invitational. Blessed Trinity has not raced much in 2021, so the duo should be primed for a big breakthrough.
Out-of-state runners have won the Wingfoot individual title twice - Kelsey Chmiel (NY) in 2016 and Niki Narayani (TN) in 2018. Secor - a junior from duPont Manual in Louisville, KY wants to be the third. She has run 18:34 this year, but ran 18:05 as a sophomore and has remained consistently in the low to mid 18s for the past three seasons. She shouldn't be counted out as a spoiler for the Georgia runners.
Heidi Heppner - North Atlanta High School
Charlotte Dunn - Pope High School
Sarah Cobb - Huntsville
Samantha McGarity - Harrison High School