With a preview of the state championship course against a loaded field, the boys and girls cross country teams from Cartersville and Woodland all finished in the top 10 of the Class 4A-5A races in the Carrollton Invite.
The Canes took fourth in the boys race and eighth in the girls race, while the Wildcats placed sixth and seventh, respectively, with the Woodland girls missing a vast majority of its top runners.
Bill Archer led the Cartersville's boys team with his 11th-place showing in 18 minutes, 9.87 seconds. Alex Rios finished 18th overall for the Canes in 18:37.05. Parker Breedlove (34th), Jacob Busek (43rd) and Colin McCann (46th) rounded out the scorers for Cartersville.
The Woodland boys had three runners finish in the top 27 to boost its spot in the final standings.
John Shropshire paced the Wildcats, finishing 21st in 18 minutes, 48.89 seconds. Dylan Stermer crossed just before the 19-minute mark in 24th place. John Forsyth finished 27th, and Kobe Cochran managed a 35th-place showing. Ian Van Order rounded out the Woodland scores, placing 66th overall in the 179-man race.
Despite missing the core of its varsity squad, which should be among the state title favorites this year, the Woodland girls still put together a solid day in Carrollton.
The Wildcats posted a total team time just north of two hours — an average of 24 minutes per runner. Freshman Rylee Evans — one of the lone Woodland varsity runners at attend — had the best showing of any local runner, crossing in seventh place in 20 minutes, 48.42 seconds.
Erica Boatner (23rd), Marlee Bowles (33rd) and Avery Hull (35th) put forward incredibly encouraging performances. Anna Payne (105th) stepped up to complete the Woodland scoring in the race, which featured 159 runners.
Alex Machado had the top result for the Cartersville girls. She needed just 23 minutes, 16.42 seconds to cross the finish line in 25th.
The Canes had five runners place between 52-64. Trista Kelly led the group with Vanna Beach (54th) not far behind. Alice Terry (60th) and Jaxiry Betancourt (63rd) wrapped up the scorers for Cartersville, as Jocelyn Blanchette finished sixth on the team and 64th overall.
Prem Patel paced the Cass boys with a 70th-place finish in 20 minutes, 14.53 seconds. Bryce Kresho, Logan Van Sinj, Craigory Chatman and Brenden Hickman also scored points for the Colonels. Olivia Flynn led the Cass girls team, which included just two runners, placing 79th overall.