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CROSS COUNTRY: Local teams set sights on this weekend's state meet

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Rome All Area Championships

Armuchee's Chaney Holder crosses the finish line to win the boys' varsity race at the Rome All Area Championships on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, at Georgia Highlands College. (Jeremy Stewart/RN-T.com)

Every meet, every practice and every attempt to shave off a few seconds on a personal best have led to this weekend. The best Floyd County cross country teams go to Carrollton this weekend in the most important race of the year.

The GHSA State cross country championships take place on Friday and Saturday this weekend, and plenty of local teams look to make a mark.

Class 5A

Few times in recent memory has Rome come into the state meet with such high aspirations. The Wolves are coming off a first place finish in the Region 7-5A meet last week while the Lady Wolves took second place in the meet.

Rome coach Luis Goya notes the success goes completely toward his runners’ work ethic since the summer. Every week, the team has made a new goal to strive towards, and it’s all been building towards Carrollton.

“Our goal right now is to finish in the top five or top 10 at the meet,” Goya said. “Going against the best should be a great test to see where we are as a program. Winning region was great, and we want to build off of it.”

Last season, the Wolves finished 23rd out of 31 teams in the state meet, while the girls took 14th place. But as Goya has noted many times, this is a different team than previous years, and it is aware of the kind of skilled teams it will face this week.

“We are talking about a different level of competition over there,” Goya said. “We are talking about runners that can hit 15 minutes, easy. Those are numbers I think Rome can pull eventually, because of the way we are working the program.”

The Class 5A boys’ race is Friday at 9 a.m. while the girls’ race is at 9:45 a.m.

Class AA

Armuchee, Coosa, Model and Pepperell all have teams competing, but it’s the Indians who have the best shot to challenge the podium. Both the Indians and Lady Indians took first place at the Region 7-AA meet last week.

Armuchee coach Scott Pierce said after the meet that both teams had “podium aspirations”, and not much has changed after a week of practice.

“It’s been a long season and it’s nice for us to reach this point,” Pierce said. “The course is a little hillier than we are use too, so we aren’t concerned with times, we are just concerned with testing the other opponents.”

The boys’ race also features Pepperell, which had three runners finish in the top-five of the region meet and finished two points behind Armuchee.

The Class 2A boys race on Saturday at 8 a.m. while the girls race at 8:45 a.m.

Class A Private

The Darlington Tigers hope to improve after both teams placed fifth in the state meet last season. In the region meet last week, the boys’ team placed third while the girls finished in second place just behind Fellowship Christian.

They Lady Tigers are led by the trio of Emily Edwards, Maggie Hawkins and Jayden Boswell, who all took top-ten in the region meet.

The Class A-private boys’ race begins at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, while the girls race at 11:15 a.m.