The meet will begin at 9 a.m. with finals in the field events, 1,600-meter run and the 3,200 relay, as well as preliminaries in the running events. It concludes Monday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., with finals in the remaining running events.
Coming off a third-place finish at last year’s Class AAAAAA state meet, the Marietta girls have a strong chance at defending their county title. The Lady Blue Devils will be solid in all phases of the meet, giving them a good chance at holding on to the team trophy.
“We are solid across the board, but we’re also just rounding into shape,” Marietta coach Chad Christman said. “Even though we’re not hitting on all cylinders, we’re not worried or about to push the panic button.
“We’re off to a slow start, but started to get it together last week at the Roswell Relays, so, this weekend, we’re looking to compete and see where the chips fall. It should be an exciting meet with us, McEachern, Campbell and Pope as the favorites, I think.”
McEachern will likely be the strongest contender to end Marietta’s reign. While the Lady Indians don’t have the field and distance depth that the Lady Blue Devils do, they do stand out in the sprints, hurdles and relays.
“I think the girls are prepared, and they’ll do a good job,” McEachern coach Philip Hoskins said. “They’ve been training hard and showing up in their last couple of meets. Our strength will definitely be in the sprints, hurdles and relays. We’ll be strong overall in the jumps and throws, too, so it will be up to the effort the girls put forth this weekend.”
Kell, which finished third last year, will need to find a way to replace the production of Kendell Williams, who completed a banner high school career and is now at Georgia. Fourth-place county finisher Walton should continue to see solid results from its distance runners, while Pope and Campbell also have strong girls teams.
McEachern, last year’s boys runner-up, returns a young and inexperienced team, but the Indians have a tendency to shine when they need to.
“There’s no question this is the youngest team I’ve ever coached,” Hoskins said. “We have some veteran guys in the field events, but we’re young on the sprint side. We’re going to have to wait and see who steps up.”
Campbell and Hillgrove should also perform well. The Spartans will need to find a way to overcome the production from state hurdle champion Allan Frye, while the Hawks, who placed second in the state last year in Class AAAAAA, have holes to fill in the sprints, relays and hurdles.
Returning girls event champions include Marietta’s Tatiyana Rayford (100) and Mary Jeanne Assinzo (800), along with Wheeler’s Natisha Dixon (300 hurdles) and McEachern’s Cierra Dunston (200, 400).
Returning boys champions are Marietta’s Marcus Bennett (long jump), McEachern’s Bryce Glover (triple jump), Harrison’s Joey Connors (discus), Sprayberry’s Rod Trujillo (shot put) and Walton’s Kenan Farmer (1,600, 3,200).