Creekview was set to host the event this year, but conflicts forced the meet to be moved to River Ridge. Creekview will also be hosting the county’s Science Olympiad on Saturday, which raised concerns over the lack of parking for the two high-attendance events.
The pole vaulting competition will remain at Creekview, set for this afternoon. River Ridge does not have a pole vaulting pit on its campus.
Despite losing the home advantage, Creekview girls coach Nathan Cline still sees his team finishing in the top three.
“We are experiencing injuries to key personnel that will affect our teams,” Cline said. “Our winners from last year have all graduated, but I feel we can still compete in most of the field events, relays and distance races.”
Runners Lera McNamara and Rachael Boulineau, and high jumper Camille Fahrnbauer are expected to be the top-point scorers for the Lady Grizzlies as they look to dethrone Woodstock, which is returning a few defending champions.
The Lady Wolverines’ Arielle Hunter will defend her title in the 200- and 400-meter runs, as will Alexandra Melehan in the 1,600.
After finishing second last season, Etowah has hopes of finishing first Saturday. Savannah Smith (800) and Kingsley Green (3,200) are looking to defend their titles and expect to be the Lady Eagles’ top point-getters.
Sequoyah will try to improve on its fourth-place finish from last season. The Lady Chiefs field a young team, so senior Patrice Tolbert will be counted on to defend her title in the 100.
With a group of both upperclassmen and veterans, River Ridge aims to place higher than fifth this season. The Lady Knights are expected to fare well in the sprints and distance events, led by juniors Dennisah Francis and Chidi Ojukwu.
Like River Ridge, Cherokee will also look to score points in the sprints and distance events. Caitlyn Farrell will be the Lady Warriors’ best chance as she runs in the 400, 800 and 1,600 runs.
Cherokee finished sixth in last year’s county meet and hopes Farrell can help it avoid that last-place finish this time around.
Like its girls team, Woodstock’s boys team is also expecting to maintain its county championship Saturday.
The Wolverines have a deep and talented group, with senior Kylon Drones looking to repeat as champion in the 110 and 300 hurdles.
Cherokee narrowly missed out on team title last season, and despite losing some county champions, the Warriors will try to capture first place with Andrew Harris and Andrew Wright in the 200 and 400 runs, and Brandon Hrouda in the discus and shot put.
Another young team will be Etowah, which finished third last season, but believes it can compete for the county championship.
Creekview finished fourth last season, and coach Tim Smyrl looks forward to the county meet as the Grizzlies tune up for Region 7AAAAA.
“Our kids are competing to secure one of the top two spots in each event,” Smyrl said. “We want them to compete in region, and that’s what’s great about the county meet.”
Hoping to get points for the Grizzlies will be senior sprinter Isaiah Rodgers, pole vaulters Johnathan and Joe Dipietro and throwers Connor Threlkeld, Johnathan Johnson and Zach Chester.
Sequoyah placed fifth last year and will rely on a few underclassmen Saturday. But senior Daniel McKune will compete in the shot put and discus, while Ryan McNeal, Zach Moore, and Christopher Costa will hope to score points for the Chiefs in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
River Ridge finished sixth last season, but a combination of veterans and newcomers will aim to improve the Knights’ placement this time around. Juniors Nathan Trottier, Tanner Hicks and Michael Lewis will be running the sprints and mid-distance events for River Ridge.