“We’re young this year, but I’d be happy if both teams finished in the top 15,” said eighth-year Spalding head coach Dolores Owen. “There will be 32 teams there in all.”
Leading the charge for the Lady Jags will be Region 4-AAA champion Jenna Wesley. Rounding out Spalding’s lineup are Shay Wright, Emily Peek, Meg Ward, Dominique Nock, Lauren Cook, Emily Kaufman, Shay Williams, Allie Futral, Katherine Pate, Corrine Milling and Taylor Hendrick.
The Lady Jags, which finished 13th last year at state, placed third out of 10 teams Saturday in the Region 4-AAA championships at Spalding High School to qualify for this year’s state meet.
Other teams from the region to qualify for the girl’s Class AAA state meet include champion Woodward Academy, runner-up Eagle’s Landing and fourth-place Mary Persons.
For the Lady Jags, which returned six of their top seven runners from last year, it’s more success in a season that has included placing first in five meets. First place finishes have come in fields of 20 teams Sept. 15 at Warner Robins, 10 teams Oct. 3 at the Jag Invitational, 17 teams Oct. 15 at Northeast-Macon, 16 teams Oct. 22 at Westside-Macon and 14 teams Oct. 24 at Alcovy.
The Spalding High boys cross country team, which finished 16th at state last year, also placed third out of 10 teams Saturday to qualify for the state meet. Other teams from the region to qualify for the boy’s Class AAA state meet include region champion Woodward Academy, region runner-up Eagle’s Landing and fourth-place Woodland-Stockbridge.
Leading the charge for the Jaguars on Saturday are Bryan Cronan, Adam Miller, Joe Ragsdale, Aaron Ledet, Taylor Toland, Will Sanders, Ricky Matthews. Jacob Grant, Ryan Jenkins, Jon Eady, Tommy Mixon and Marshall Voight.
Despite a wealth of youth, the Jags — which return three starters from last year in Cronan, Miller and Ragsdale — have five top-5 finishes this season, including third out of 10 teams at last week’s region meet. Other top-five finishes have included placing second out of 10 teams at the Jag Invitational on Oct. 3, fourth out of 17 teams at Northeast Macon on Oct. 15 and fifth out of 10 teams at the season-opening Jag Invitational on Aug. 22.
The Class AAA girl’s meet begins at 10 a.m., while the Class AAA boy’s meet begins at 10:30 a.m.