Coach Wood Invitational attracts the state's best

The state cross country meet is three weeks away and many of the state's top teams will be in Gainesville on Saturday.

The ninth annual Coach Wood Invitational will be at Gainesville College, where more than 50 teams will be in attendance.

The group includes two-time defending boys Class AAAAA state champion Brookwood along with eight other teams ranked in the top 10.

"I'm really excited," Mill Creek coach and organizer Andy Christie said. "Every year we get more great teams. I never would have guessed it would have grown into what it is today."

The Broncos have won both in-state meets they've competed in this season and took third at a race in North Carolina.

The Broncos have four runners -- Morgan Malanoski, Kevin Marsh, Gabe Gomez and Matthew McClintock -- who have run under 16-minute times this season.

Brookwood's biggest threat at Saturday's meet is No. 2 ranked Walton. Defending Class AAA state champion St. Pius will also be in attendance.

Peachtree Ridge's Josh Brickell, the defending state champion, is the heavy favorite to win the individual title.

The Brookwood girls return to defend their Coach Wood title. The Broncos are led by Caroline Kissel and QuanDra Shanks. Individual state champion Chloe Whitworth from Collins Hill will face Region 7-AAAAA challengers Katherine Yost from Norcross and Lauren Kelly from Peachtree Ridge.