Runners take off at the start of the Gwinnett County Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020.

Region 8-AAAAAAA

Collins Hill

Boys coach: Heather Hunting

Top boys runners: Marc Petrucci, Jr.; Camron Gaddis, Sr.

Coach’s take: “These runners are leaders both on the course and in the team. Watch for both at state this year.”

Girls coach: Heather Hunting

Top girls runner: Katelyn Getchey, Soph.

Coach’s take: “In a rebuilding year, our girls have come together and will surprise everyone.”

Mill Creek

Boys coach: Andy Christie

Top boys runners: Ethan Nordman, Sr.; Jake Peters, Sr.; Joseph Kim, Sr.; Will Ort, Sr.; Eli Griggs, Soph.; Shahzeb Rashid, Sr.; Luke Kalarickal, Jr.

Coach’s take: “We return a strong group of seniors who are hungry to improve on last year's sixth-place state finish and runner-up finish at county. With the focus on being a cohesive unit, we hope this fall proves to be one that adds to the traditions set by other top teams in school history.”

Girls coach: Michael Sexton

Top girls runners: Emily Guy, Sr.; Kate Scales, Sr.; Alex Surowiec, Jr.; Jade Jacobazzi, Sr.; Evelynn Schlitz, Fr.; Jewel Wells, Fr.; Reagan Gakstatter, Sr.

Coach’s take: “The Mill Creek girls will be trying to reinvent themselves after graduating a strong, senior-laden class in 2021. But a fast core of focused, motivated upperclassmen have taken charge of this group and a gaggle of hotshot young freshmen seem poised to fill some important varsity gaps. The ceiling for this group is high, and expectations for October and November remain aggressively optimistic as always.”

Mountain View

Boys coach: Donald Macoy

Top boys runners: Sam Kim, Sr.; Jack Pickens, Jr.; Zach Ignash, Sr.; Charles Edler, Soph.; Elijah Bentley, Sr.; Gabe Pattacini, Soph.

Coach's take: "The team will rely on running as a pack with several runners looking to move up to varsity after running JV last season."

Girls coach: Donald Macoy

Top girls runner: Kallie Henderson, Jr.

Coach's take: "Kallie has worked hard in the offseason to improve as an individual and is ready to lead a young team back to the state meet."

North Gwinnett

Boys coach: Chris Carter, John Rowland

Top boys runners: Will Collett, Sr.; Matthew Drane, Sr.; Cole Hambacker, Sr.; Henry Maddox, Jr.; Yianni Pothoulakis, Sr.

Coach’s take: “The Bulldogs will be led by a strong senior class. Pothoulakis was a first-team All-Gwinnett County runner and top-30 finisher at the state meet. Collett, Drane, Hambacker and Maddox were all members of the state qualifying team from last year and have big meet experience. The entire team has improved tremendously during summer training and must stay healthy for the Bulldogs to accomplish their goal of improving on their state championship finish from last year.”

Girls coach: John Rowland, Chris Carter

Top girls runners: Sacha Brickey, Sr.; Ellie Brink, Sr.; Marianna Gazzara, Sr.; Ari Meyer, Sr.; Tori Meyer, Jr.; Maddy Tilson, Jr.

Coach’s take: “The Bulldogs will be led by senior Marianna Gazzara and junior Tori Meyer, who were first-team All-Gwinnett County runners last year. The Bulldogs will be deep this year and, based on a great summer for the whole team, have their eyes on contending for high places at county and region and finishing on the podium at state. Ari Meyer and Tilson have had an impressive summer and return from last year's state meet team. Seniors Brickey and Brink are state track qualifiers from the spring and give the Bulldogs the added depth needed to improve on last year's seventh-place finish at the state meet.”

Peachtree Ridge

Boys coach: Logan Vaupel

Top boys runners: Ben Kerbey, Sr.; Dylan DeBriere, Jr.; Kostyantyn Chernyshov, Jr.; Sam Gonzalez, Jr.; Rexy Susanto, Soph.

Coach’s take: “We have a solid young team that's hungry to improve and elevate the level of our program. We're counting on our upperclassmen to lead the way and inspire every single runner to be better. Our coaches look forward to seeing the bonds these young men form and the legacy they leave behind.”

Girls coach: Logan Vaupel

Top girls runners: Catherine Vaughn, Sr.; Clara You, Sr.; Kruti Bhanderi, Sr.; Alitza Dennard, Jr.; Angela Stephan, Jr.; Laney Pierce, Jr.

Coach’s take: “We are so excited about each of the girls we have running with us this season. We're counting on these ladies to support and encourage one another as they work hard and show what they're truly capable of. We return six of our top eight and hope to build on last year's success.”

Region 7-AAAAAAA


Boys coach: John McCartney

Top boys runners: Miles Ferguson, Sr.; Steven McCartney, Jr.; Alex Szanti, Sr.; Zach Szanti, Sr.; Mikey Beson, Sr.

Coach’s take: “Rebuilding a team that can compete on the state level started in earnest June 7. Senior Miles Ferguson and junior Steven McCartney competed at the 2020 state meet. Five boys graduated, and the work to replace those boys is going well. Senior twins, Alex and Zach Szanti, have bought into the training. Senior Mikey Beson has dedicated himself to be a scoring member of the mostly new lineup. Boys think they can repeat as region champs and want to represent well at county and the state meet.”

Girls coach: John McCartney

Top girls runners: Katie Bonilla, Sr.; Emily Cragin, Jr.; Paige Sandidge, Soph.

Coach’s take: “The Archer girls will be led by 2020 state meet runners Katie Bonilla, Emily Cragin and Paige Sandidge. The team’s challenge will be to fill the varsity with girls who have not represented Archer at state. The team’s main goal will be to repeat as region champions.”


Boys coach: Nicholas Schofer

Top boys runners: Daniel de los Santos, Sr.; Donovan Salinas, Sr.; Franco Cruz, Jr.

Coach’s take: “The team is rebuilding, and we are growing the program to reach more student-athletes.”

Girls coach: Rosina Diaz

Top girls runner: Yessica Rios, Sr.

Coach’s take: “Looking forward to what this season brings.”


Boys coach: Wesley Etienne

Top boys runners: Thomas Verdezota, Sr.; Jeyson Martinez, Sr.; Alex Cantero, Sr.; Mason Dalcour, Sr.

Coach’s take: “We are in Year 7 of our young program, working to continually grow with these novice runners. The goal is to qualify for state again.”

Girls coach: Melissa Stephenson

Top girls runner: Taylor Watkins, Sr.

Coach’s take: “Our girls program graduated key seniors in May. We are young and looking to be in top five in our region as a team.”


Boys coach: Stephen Fairchild

Top boys runners: Shaw McGuire, Soph.; Tino Imbesi, Soph.; John-Paul Bowring, Jr.; Daniel Mejia, Sr.

Coach’s take: “This team finished third in the region last year and earned their way to state. All are returning with the goal for this season to win region and place at state.”

Girls coach: Brooke Wright

Top girls runners: Lyric Minter, Sr.; Sabrina Mejiak, Sr.; Evelyn Acquah, Sr.; Tiffany Guardado, Sr.; Riley Johnson, Sr.; Katie Park, Jr.

Coach’s take: “We made it to state last season, and that is the goal for this season as well. I am looking forward to working with this group of hard-working young women.”


Boys coach: Maria Coughlin

Top boys runner: Alexis Medrano-Sandoval, Sr.

Coach’s take: “I am really looking forward to Alexis’ season this year. He has been having some great workouts this summer, and his determination has been inspiring to watch. Alexis is a great captain for our team, and now that he has a year of experience under his belt there is nothing he cannot do.”

Girls coach: Maria Coughlin

Top girls runner: Makalia Joseph, Jr.

Coach’s take: “Makalia is coming off a record-breaking track season, and I cannot wait to see where that momentum takes her. As captain, she pushes herself and her teammates to the next level. Makalia will definitely be one to watch this 2021 season.”


Boys coach: Nathaniel Brooks

Top boys runners: Alex Chimbanda, Jr.; Irving Murueta, Sr.; Quinn Skurpski, Sr.

Coach’s take: “We had an exceptional year and graduated our top five runners from the state podium team. We look to retool with our sixth and seventh runners returning (Quinn and Irving) and the additions of junior Alex Chimbanda, who took a year off in 2020 after a great freshman campaign. As well as a new Schlicht brother, Manuel, to follow in the footsteps of Gabriel and Miguel at Georgia Tech.”

Girls coach: Katherine Yost

Top girls runners: Kyra Andrews, Jr.; Alexa Foster, Fr.; Kylie Dommert, Fr.

Coach’s take: “This is going to be a very exciting season for the girls cross country team. We were fortunate enough to get a very strong and large group of freshmen over the summer. Some of these runners are already keeping up or are very close to our top runner, Kyra Andrews. Along with the others, I believe that this will be one of our best seasons yet if we can all manage to stay healthy and compete hard in races and practices. I expect strong results from these runners this season and seasons to come.”

Region 4-AAAAAAA


Boys coach: Ben Dehnke

Top boys runners: Obed Adhanom, Sr.; Kingsley Doyle, Sr.; Oscar Garcia, Sr.; Owen Giguere, Sr.; Jonah Harper, Sr.; Benjamin Roberts, Sr.; Jack Stephens, Sr.; Marshall Bray, Jr.; Truitt Fowler, Jr.: Malcolm Frandsen, Jr; Peyton Harley, Jr.; Jacob Houston, Jr.; Don Presley, Jr., Carter Dehnke, Soph.; Austin Dezwart, Soph.; Charlie Thomas, Soph.

Coach’s take: “This year we have a really strong group of hard-working kids who care a lot about each other and the team. We have a good blend of experience and youth, and it will certainly be a fun group to coach this season.”

Girls coach: Lauren Harrison

Top girls runners: Allie Wardle, Jr.; Hannah Mobley, Sr.; Jillian Rovie, Jr.; Addy Keszler, Sr.; Macy Felton, Jr.; Trinity Thurman, Soph.

Coach’s take: “We are super fortunate to have six of our 2021 state team returning and ready to roll. The entire Brookwood girls team has really rallied during this summer to put in a lot of hard work and mileage while also growing together as a team. We've had a lot of girls step up to lead and I am super proud. I know good things are ahead for this group and this season.”

Boys coach: Venson Elder

Top boys runners: Gustavo Gonzalez, Jr.; Owynn Brown, Jr.; Sean Dyer, Jr.; Jamonta Jackson, Sr.; Ian Johnson, Sr.

Coach's take: "Grayson lost its top six runners from a year ago and will be leaning heavily on Gonzalez and Brown to lead the squad. While inexperienced in cross country, Dyer, Jackson and Johnson performed well during track season, helping us believe that we will have a solid group that can return to the state meet."

Girls coach: Venson Elder

Top girls runners: Virginia Pastor, Jr.; Angelina Collins, Soph.; Cameryn Nardello, Soph.; Abbie Thisdale, Soph.; Jade Wren, Jr.; Davina Nkoy, Jr.

Coach's take: "Pastor has been one of Grayson's top distance runners since she stepped on Grayson's campus. She will look to help lead a squad that returns only one other runner from last year's team. Sophomores Collins, Nardello and Thisdale have shown great improvement over the summer and will look to make their mark on the program."


Boys coach: Mike Demarest

Top boys runners: Caden Hall, Sr.; Martin Robles, Sr.; David Garcia, Jr.; Jack Holcomb, Jr.; Gabe Mares, Soph.; Xavier Turner, Sr.; Ayaan Jenkins, Jr.; Trevor Mills, Soph.; Sam Thompson, Soph.; Andrew Ko, Fr.

Coach’s take: “Our boys squad returns a solid amount of talent from last year's crew, which placed eighth overall at state in 7A. Hall, 10th individually at state last year, has been chased all summer by Robles, who has made a huge jump. Garcia, Holcomb, Mares and Turner will be heavily relied upon to round out scoring and will be followed by some younger up-and-coming talent.”

Girls coach: Mike Demarest

Top girls runners: Emma Geaney, Sr.; Haley Primm, Jr.; Jaimie Chen, Sr.; Abi Debebe, Jr.; Citlali Diaz, Jr.; Vialy Bautista, Sr.; Zhari Maxineau, Jr.; Ola Baker, Jr.; Devki Patel, Jr.; Lily Tinker, Jr.; Kendall Wiley, Jr.

Coach’s take: “Our girls team returns a ton of talent with state experience and has huge goals to chase a top-four finish at the state championships and three-peat as Gwinnett County champions. Geaney has returned with a vengeance following last season's premature end while Primm, Chen and Debebe all placed in the top 40 last year at state. The ever-critical fifth runner will prove to be a defining wild card for the Panthers this season.”

Region 8-AAAAAA


Boys coach: Matt Johnson

Top boys runners: Carter Hales, Jr.; Noah Matthes, Soph.; Noah Johnson, Jr.; Ben Webb, Soph.; Garrett Posey, Jr.; Braden Schmid, Jr.; Joseph Davis, Jr.

Coach’s take: “Buford’s boys have been looking strong in training and are coming into the season healthy, fit and primed for some fast times. Picking right up where they left off in 2020, they will continue to rely heavily on their depth and pack running mentality as they strive to improve upon their results from last year. This team has the potential to perform at a very high level this fall.”

Girls coach: Matt Johnson

Top girls runners: Hayden Bailey, Jr.; Madeline Matos, Sr.; Cameron Perry, Soph.; Abby Wood, Jr.; Caitlyn Crews, Soph.

Coach’s take: “Buford’s girls are coming into the season motivated, focused and are striving to build on their successes from last season. With a team that is made up of strong returners and talented newcomers, the Lady Wolves have made continual improvements throughout the summer and look to carry that momentum into the season.”

Central Gwinnett

Boys coach: Marlin Dayoub

Top boys runners: Alex Carlson, Sr.; Steven Rubio, Soph.

Coach’s take: “Alex and Steven are both multi-sport athletes with Alex competing in track and field and Steven in soccer. We’re excited about this season as we have had a solid summer running program and are looking forward to competing this fall.”

Girls coach: Marlin Dayoub

Top girls runners: TBA

Coach’s take: “We lost our starting seniors and are hoping to rebuild with a new group of young runners. Several have participated in the summer running program and we hope to add more to the roster in August.”


Boys coach: Matt King, Katy McCorkle

Top boys runners: Hayden Squires, Sr.; Isaac Brown, Jr.; Tyler Farris, Sr.; Tyson Brown, Jr.; Corbin Squires, Fr.; Chance Jones, Jr.

Coach’s take: “As we approach the season we are really looking forward to the progress the whole boys team is taking. We are running more and quicker than the last year, putting in a good summer.  We are looking to replace several runners from last year's varsity group but our seniors are stepping up and the new runners are going to greatly contribute early.”

Girls coach: Matt King, Katy McCorkle

Top girls runners: Karsyn Rodney, Sr.; Sarah Makarevic, Sr.; Samantha Smolarsky, Jr.; Samantha Carrera, Jr.; Laura Csontos, Soph.; Allyson Arroyo, Soph.

Coach’s take: “Bringing back almost our entire varsity group greatly helps this upcoming season. The girls have worked very hard, increasing their runs and doing more work compared to the last year. They are ready to run much faster and with our upperclassmen helping the younger runners this season looks very bright.”


Boys coach: Bob Gardner, Rob Blaszkiewicz

Top boys runners: Jacob Blakey; Kyle Foster; Dylan Stone

Coach’s take: “We are a very young squad with Jacob as our only senior. Our goal is to qualify for state in what will be a tough region on the boys side. We had a small core of dedicated boys this summer who trained smart and hopefully laid the foundation for a successful season.”

Girls coach: Bob Gardner, Rob Blaszkiewicz

Top girls runners: Emely Carbajal; Alyssa Willis; Emily Chamberlin; Makayla Bowman

Coach’s take: “Last year was a historic season at Lanier with the Lady Horns grabbing their first-ever top-10 spot at the state meet. We lost some valuable talent, but with three returning seniors and sophomore phenom, Emely Carbajal, the hope is to qualify for the state meet and peak at the right time.”

Region 5-AAA

Greater Atlanta Christian

Boys coach: Brad Kinser

Top boys runners: Alex Craig, Sr.; Charlie Davis, Sr.; Colton Harsh, Jr.; Addison Alsobrook, Jr.; Josiah Asfaw, Jr.

Coach’s take: “Our boys team will have a nice mix of veteran runners and some new additions. The Spartan boys hope to compete strong in Region 5-AAA and make it once again to the state meet.”

Girls coach: Brad Kinser

Top girls runner: Madeline Rash, Sr.

Coach’s take: “The girls team will have improved numbers this year with several new runners. We hope to improve every meet.”

Region 5-A Private

Hebron Christian

Boys coach: Mike Taylor

Top boys runners: Erich Hutchison, Sr.; Seth Gunji, Sr.; Grant Beadles, Sr.; Everett Griffin, Fr.; Josh Graves, Fr.

Coach’s take: “Our goal this season is to improve over last year and qualify for state. We have great leadership from our seniors and I know this group will give everything they have every practice and every race.”

Girls coach: Mike Taylor

Top girls runners: Ellie Brewer, Sr.; Brooke Browning, Sr.; Georgia Piper, Sr.; Ellen Gunji, Jr.; Shea Deagle, Jr.; Claire Downs, Sr.; Lizzy Jacobs, Fr.

Coach’s take: “Our goal this season is to win state. Our best runners are seniors and we have some younger runners who I am looking for big seasons from. We have great senior leaders that God willing will motivate the rest of our runners.”


Boys coach: Chad McDaniel

Top boys runners: Stafford McDaniel, Sr.; Christopher Izzo, Jr.; Drew Wren, Sr.; Sam Middleton, Sr.; Carter Hayes, Jr.; Aidan Staley, Sr.; Alexander Glover, Jr.; Hudson Reynolds, Soph.

Coach’s take: “After graduating one of our most successful classes in school history, this year’s team will look a lot different and I am excited for the year ahead and seeing how this year’s group embraces the process. We will have a lot of guys running varsity for the first time in their career and it was encouraging to see that they took summer training seriously and just came off a great week at team camp.”

Girls coach: Chad McDaniel

Top girls runners: Sophie Villa, Sr.; Kendrick Archer, Sr.; Danielle Kelly, Sr.; Ashland Hemken, Sr.; Gracie Brown, Sr.; Julie Ann Bush, Soph.; Abigail Glover, Soph.

Coach’s take: “I am excited about our depth of both talent and leadership on the girls team. At our team camp, the senior leaders did a phenomenal job of engaging the younger girls on the team and pushing each other every day on the trails. This is such a fun group that works hard and also has a lot of fun together.”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please log in, or sign up for a new, free account to read or post comments.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.