With runners around the state set to descend upon the Carrollton City Schools campus for the 2018 GHSA Cross Country State Championships this weekend, the host school will have a team gunning for state glory within the field.
The Carrollton High School boys’ cross country team will test itself on its home course when competing in the Class AAAAA championships this Friday at 10:30 a.m. Each team will have seven runners with the top-five finishers counting toward the final score.
The Trojans qualified for state by finishing third in last Saturday’s Region 7-AAAAA championship meet in Cartersville. The team was bolstered by the tandem of first-place finisher Collin Jones (16:49.35) and second-place finisher Joshua Beam (17:10.95).
Austin Rosencrance (20th), Brayan Cortez (23), John Tumi (27), Austin Griffies (36) and Justin Parham (45) rounded out the region field for Carrollton and will all participate again in Friday’s championship race.
With the team just missing the cut last year, first-year head coach Ronnie Glanton was happy to see his guys accomplish what they had set out to do since the summer.
“It’s a great thing to see your whole team make it. Our goal from the beginning was getting to the state meet and fortunately we were able to that,” Glanton said. “They started back in June and these kids have been going six days a week working their bottoms off to make it to this point.”
Serving as Carrollton’s lone individual qualifier last fall, the senior Beam was satisfied to see the collective work of the entire team paying off with them all going to state this time around.
“We had a really young group this year,” Beam said. “We put a lot of work in and coach Glanton has worked really hard to prepare the workouts for us. We’re ready to go after it at state and these guys will be ready for the next couple of years, too.”
Taking his runners to various outings this season, Glanton described the progression they made throughout the fall.
“We’ve improved with almost every meet. Every meet our kids have shown some type of progress, so it’s been great to watch them get a little better each week,” Glanton said. “Also, the kids not once have they come back and question what we’re doing. It’s always, ‘Coach, what can we do?’ With that attitude, you’re going to get better.”
The sophomore Jones also talked about their progression in his first season at Carrollton.
“We definitely got a lot more endurance with coach Glanton’s workouts,” Jones said. “Everybody improved their personal bests from last year and we’ve also worked well as a team.”
As for Friday’s field, the CHS head coach is confident that his guys can deliver a solid performance.
“I expect our kids to finish strong and be in the top 10. That’s our goal, and if they can do even better than that, then that’s awesome,” Glanton said, “I do know that they’ll run great. They’ve been building up and I know that somebody’s going to hit a big number on Friday.”
Also confident in his team’s abilities is the sophomore Tumi, who thinks that the Trojans can band together one last time for their best outing yet.
“I think that everyone is going to run well. I think our three, four and five guys are going to be able to pack together and score some better points,” Tumi said. “Our top two guys, Collin and Josh, will obviously do well and we’re expecting big things from them. The last two guys I think will come in with great times and I think we’ll have a great race.”