ATLANTA -- September 21, 2021 -- Three metro-Atlanta teams and two out-of-state visitors head into Wingfoot XC Classic weekend as the top competitors for the overall team title. This year, the meet returns to its traditional format following a time trial format in 2020 due to COVID-19 and a close competition is expected between some of the top XC teams in the country. Here is a look at some teams to watch.
Blessed Trinity High School
The Titans opened the season with a bang, dominating the Bob Blastow Early Bird Invitational and averaging a time of 19:18 for their top five. Seniors Kelly Ann Sutterfield and Katie Hamfeldt are as strong as any one-two combination in the field and strong runs from both will set the stage in the team competition. A big run from sophomore Claire Peterson could seal the deal. All three have run under 19:00 this season.
duPont Manual High School
duPont Manual makes its Wingfoot XC Classic debut and it could be a debut to remember. The Crimsons won the Mason Cross Country Invite in Ohio this month with an average of 19:55. Junior Jessica Secor who ran 18:03 at Nike XC SE Regionals last season and Senior Nicole Farnsley will likely be in the lead pack, but with a 1:43 spread at Mason, they'll need the bottom three to pick it up in order to bring the title to Louisville.
Marist looked strong at Carrolton Orthopaedic, winning by more than 80 points over Pace Academy. As an 800m runner, top runner Ruby Little (sophomore) has the closing speed to pick off a couple of positions at the end of the race. The War Eagles top five averages right around 20 minutes and a big day from seniors Nicole Pizzo and Johna Grisik who both know the Cartersville course very well could put the 2019 Wingfoot Champions back at the top of the final standings.
Huntsville High School
This will be the Crimson's second trip to Georgia this season. Early this month, the young team raced the AT&T Panther Invitational in Fayetteville and took the team title with them back to Alabama. Sophomore Sara Cobb was third in that race with a time of 18:46 and Junior Ava McIntosh was fifth in 19:04. Both will be factors in the individual race, but they will need big races from runners three through five - which includes two freshmen - to remain undefeated in Georgia this year.
Sophomore Caroline Hood will almost certainly put a Knights singlet near the front of the field. She's won the Carrolton Orthopaedic Classic and the North Georgia Championships and the Zack Wensley Invitational this year. Hood's season best of 18:03 ranks her first in the state so far this season. Pace will need a lights out race from its top five to be in contention. At Carrolton, the spread was 3:20 and it was 3:50 at North Georgia. That won't take the team title against the stiff competition at Wingfoot.
Other Teams to Watch:
· Pope High School
· North Atlanta High School