One of the two North Fulton volleyball teams that advanced to the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state championships won a title, and three more squads captured state crowns in cross country.
In volleyball, Alpharetta won, and Blessed Trinity finished second in the GHSA finals at the Lakepoint Sports Complex in Cartersville Nov. 7.
In Class 7A, Alpharetta defeated Walton 3-1. It was the Raiders’ first state volleyball title in school history. In Class 5A, Blessed Trinity fell to McIntosh 3-1.
“It’s amazing!” Alpharetta coach Grace Fossier said of the championship. “The whole season has been touch and go, not knowing if we would be shut down any day because of the pandemic. It gave us an extra appreciation of the privilege to play a varsity sport. Our competitions got delayed in the county twice, and we had to reschedule our matches to start a month late.
“While some counties were allowed to play, we had to patiently wait and practice. It took us some time to find our rhythm and we did not see the awesome finish coming. I am so proud of our players in how they handled everything, and the way they battled until the absolute end to make us victorious in the state championship.”
Fossier said it was a group effort, listing all 13 players. But she said the team was led by senior captain and outside hitter Evoni Lemons (347 kills, 404 serve receptions and 250 digs), senior setter and right side Ava Pitchford (425 assists, 47 serving aces, 163 kills and 133 digs), senior captain and libero Lauren Boyles (368 serve receptions and 363 digs), freshman middle blocker Logan Wiley (197 kills, 44 block assists and 19 solo blocks), junior setter Amanda Kilkelly (259 assists), senior outside hitter Layla Estes (76 kills, 137 serve receptions and 98 digs), sophomore defensive specialist Trinity Mitchell (237 serve receptions and 126 digs) and freshman right side Jada Nelson (125 kills and 45 blocks).
The roster was rounded out by Lydia Christensen, Zohe Serrano, Sarah Michaels, Andi Thomson and Piper Pitchford.
In cross country, Wesleyan’s boys and girls and Cambridge’s boys won state titles in the state meet Nov. 6 and 7 at Carrollton High School in Carrollton.
In Class 6A boys, Cambridge won the team title with 108 points and was led by Calen Jones, who placed 18th in 17 minutes, 48.37 seconds. Its top five runners each placed in the top 25 overall. Chattahoochee finished sixth (197 points), and was led by Joey Cartagena (14th, 17:39.23).
In Class 6A girls, Cambridge finished third with 144 points, led by Anna Filipek (16th, 21:22.53). Pope (74 points) won the team title, and Creekview’s Makena Gates (18:43.60) took the individual crown.
In Class A Private boys, Wesleyan won the title with 56 points, and its top runner was Mac Howie (third, 16:32.66). Its top five runners each placed in the top 25 overall. Mount Pisgah Christian placed 16th (400 points), and its top runner was Matthew Dworkin (24th, 18:06.25). St. Francis finished 18th (473 points) and was led by Callan Hasling (26th, 18:09.37). Fellowship Christian placed 22nd (564 points), and its top runner was Garrett Lengefeld (71st, 19:21.29). King’s Ridge finished 26th (658 points) and was led by Isaac Martin (21st, 18:00.21).
In Class A Private girls, Wesleyan made it a clean sweep with 118 points, led by Katherine Graddy (19th, 21:59.57). Its top five harriers finished in the top 28 overall. Fellowship Christian placed 12th (308 points), and its top runner was Sami Rickheim (20:45.93). Mount Pisgah Christian finished 18th (494 points) and was led by Ava Trankina (34th, 22:35.93). St. Francis placed 26th (663 points), and its top runner was McKenna Tate (72nd, 23:54.28).
“It feels incredible to win both the boys’ and the girls’ state championships this year” said Wesleyan boys’ and girls’ coach Chad McDaniel. “It has been really difficult this season with COVID, but I am so proud of our kids, parents and coaches for being flexible.
“Both teams followed the exact strategies our coaches planned out and they executed to perfection. I am just so thankful that we were able to make it all the way to the end of the season and actually get to run the state meet. Back in July, that seemed like an impossibility.”
The Wolves’ boys won their 12th state championship and third in a row and the girls took home their sixth overall and first since 2013.
Several other teams placed at the state meet.
In Class 7A boys, Milton placed fifth (194 points), and its top runner was Hayden Marshall (third, 16:16.42). Marietta won the title with 99 points and had the top individual runner, Kamari Miller (15:29.72). Roswell placed 12th (295 points), and its top runner was Christian Cartier (25th, 17:12.06).
In Class 7A girls, Milton placed ninth with 255 points, and was led by Calista Cacciatore, who finished 31st (20:49.43). Roswell finished 11th (285 points), and its top runner was Lynley Blocker (23rd, 20:42.97). Marietta (88 points) won the team title, and South Forsyth’s Carmel Yonas won the individual crown (18:48.89).
In Class 5A boys, Blessed Trinity placed third (78 points), and its top finisher was Adam Wade (fourth, 16:41.37). Northview took 18th (506 points) and was led by Joseph Cunningham (76th, 18:31.23). St. Pius X took home the title (56 points), and Decatur’s Christian Gonzalez won the individual crown (16:33.87).
In Class 5A girls, Blessed Trinity placed second (49 points), and its top finisher was Hannah Miniutti (third, 19:21.32). Northview finished 14th (394) and was led by Poorvi Iyer (45th, 21:58.23). St. Pius X won both the team (42 points) and individual titles (Mary Brady, 18:47.62).