Teams in the meet will be Spalding, Griffin, Stockbridge, Locust Grove, Eagle’s Landing, Dutchtown, Jonesboro, Riverdale, North Clayton, Upson-Lee and Woodland-Stockbridge. Woodland won’t field a girls team. The junior varsity runners begin at 4:30 p.m. while the varsity girls run at 5 p.m. and the varsity boys get started about 5:35 p.m.
The top 4 teams will qualify for the state cross country meet and the top 7 individual runners will qualify for state as well.
“The favorites are going to be the Eagle’s Landing teams, but I truly believe that if we run with heart and determination, both of my teams can get state this year,” Owen said. “Several of our runners will have to step up.”
The Lady Jags of Spalding will definitely need some other runners to step up, as top runners Blair Dunaway (sick) and Li Anne Harris (injury) will be at less than full strength this evening. Owen said she’s looking for strong performances from Grenishia Daniel, Stephanie Estrada and Emma Johnston to pick up the slack.
“If Grenishia can run a 23 and Emma keeps on improving like she has been this year, the girls team should do fine,” Owen said. “I’m expecting Stephanie to also do well.”
On the boys side, Owen said it will be a task to keep up with No. 4 state-ranked Eagle’s Landing, but she believes her boys can do just that.
“I told the guys that if you want to beat the best, you have to run with the best,” she said. “I know they have it in them to run with Eagle’s Landing.”
Owen said she is expecting great things from Benjamin Parker, who’s been her steadiest male runner all season. As for Griffin High, Dwayne Harry will be the best runner for that team and Owen hopes he will do well; after all, he swims along with Spalding during swimming season.
“Dwayne’s very athletic and he should finish well this year,” she said.
ELHS won the boys Region 4-AAA title last year while Sandy Creek (which is in another region in AAAA this year) won the girls Region 4-AAA title in 2011.