Special to the Times
Valdosta High School will host the GHSA Region 1 AAAAAA cross-country championship meet Thursday, Oct. 31, at Freedom Park.
The meet begins at 4 p.m. with the girls varsity teams running first, followed by the boys varsity and then the combined boys and girls junior varsity. The top four teams in the varsity races qualify to compete in the GHSA State Championship Meet on Nov. 9 in Carrollton. Individual runners must finish in the top six to earn a berth in the State meet if their team does not qualify.
The Lowndes High Vikings enter the meet as strong favorites to grab the top team awards in both the boys and girls varsity races. On the boys side, Lowndes will be pushed by Camden County while Tift County should also mount a challenge. The Valdosta boys will compete with the squads from Colquitt and Coffee Counties for the fourth spot and a trip to the State meet.
On the girls side, Lowndes will be challenged by the teams from Camden and Tift Counties. The VHS girls stand a good chance of nabbing fourth place and a spot in the State meet, but they will have to fend off Coffee and Colquitt Counties for that honor.
Lowndes senior Jadon Long has been the top runner for the Vikings all season and is a good bet to win the individual title in the boys race. Sophomores Chance Roe and Andrew Elam and senior Tyler Thurman are also likely to place high for Lowndes. For Valdosta, freshman Matthew Baun looks to cap a stellar first season by finishing in the top six. Other boys with a chance of getting in the top six on Thursday include Jacek Kolodziejczyk and James Oakes of Camden County, Isaiah Fullmore and Joshua Curry of Tift County, and Brunswick’s Grayson Rubel.
A sweep of the top four individual places is a possibility for Lowndes in the girls race. Freshman Mackenzie Morse and seniors Alison Peters, Jacki Pinkerton, and Ashley Powell have all had strong seasons for the Vikings. They will be challenged by Tift’s Madison Honeycutt and Blakely Bergeron and Brunswick’s Andrea Massey. Lowndes senior Josie Mazurkiewicz and Valdosta junior Leah Michael are also strong candidates for a spot in the top ten.
All races begin and end inside the running/walking track at Freedom Park. There is no admission fee for spectators.