Photo by Derrick Mahone
Eagle’s Landing runner Brian Cato is looking to pace the Golden Eagles in Saturday’s Battle of Atlanta at Nash Farm, which will feature some of the top teams and runners in the state.
Union Grove cross country coach Eric Daugherty sees this weekend’s Battle of Atlanta meet as a good measuring stick for his team.
Daugherty’s boys team is ranked No. 5 in the last Ga.MileSplit.com rankings while the girls team sits at No. 9 heading into the invitational meet at Nash Farms on Saturday.
Several state contenders will be at the meet, including McIntosh and Lakeside-Evans, who Daugherty views as his teams’ top competition.
“It will be the biggest meet in the state this weekend,” he said. “We will get to see ourselves against McIntosh and Lakeside-Evans. We will get to see how well prepared for the last half of the season we are.”
The race, which starts at 8 a.m., will draw about 1,500 runners and 35 teams from across the state. There are ranked teams in each of the six classifications that are expected to compete.
“I’m just overjoyed with the type of teams we have coming in,” said Eagle’s Landing coach Claud Spinks, whose team is host of the meet. “This meet gives teams an honest assessment of themselves as they move forward towards the region and state meets.”
Union Grove boys are coming off a win at the Panther Invitational at Starr’s Mill while the girls’ team was third in the 25-team field.
Eagle’s Landing boys finished ninth in the 23-team field at the Coach Benson Double Dip Invitational, which was hosted by Marist. The Golden Eagles were paced by Brian Cato, who finished fifth with a time of 16 minutes, 28 seconds. He was named one of the Ga.MileSplit.com runners of the week by the online cross country website.
“I’m very pleased at the way Brian has been running this season,” Spinks said. “We go into every race with the intentions to improve.”
Spinks and Daugherty say their teams have a comfort level at Nash Farms.
“I think our runners are real comfortable,” Spinks said. “There are a lot of runners that don’t like it, but they respect the course. We are looking forward to racing, but we don’t think about setting any records.”
“There is a certain way you have to run that course,” he said. “Several of the teams have run that course before. We are looking forward to the race.”