For local high school cross country teams, the work that started in the heat of summer will come down to what they do in the chill of fall.
It’s region/area meet week for programs in Murray and Whitfield counties, with the top four teams and the top six individuals in each meet advancing to the Georgia High School Association’s state meets on Nov. 9 at Carrollton High School.
For some, though, just getting to state is only the minimum goal. Coahulla Creek’s boys are among those legitimately shooting for a region title, and if they’re successful they’ll be the school’s first team to win a league championship since it opened in 2011.
The Colts and Lady Colts will join the rest of Region 5-3A — including North Murray — on Tuesday at Dellinger Park in Cartersville for the region meet, which begins at 4 p.m.
Christian Heritage is in the Area 4-A private school meet at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Rome’s Darlington School, Morris Innovative and Murray County will compete in the Region 7-2A meet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Georgia Highlands College in Rome, and Dalton, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield will race in the Region 7-4A meet at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Roper Park in Jasper.
Coahulla Creek’s boys have made going to state fairly routine, advancing the past two seasons as the region’s runner-up. Last year, the Colts were second to Cartersville at Dellinger Park.
However, in the only meet the Colts have competed against the Purple Hurricanes at this season — the Cass-Cartersville Invitational at Dellinger Park — Coahulla Creek finished third, behind two Atlanta schools and safely ahead of Cartersville.
“The one team that gave us a challenge the last two years — and we haven’t run against all the teams in the region — was Cartersville,” Colts coach Josh Deslattes said.
Coahulla Creek also has two runners with hopes of an individual region championship, Deslattes said. Sadoth Fraire, a senior, and freshman Walt Douglas continue passing one another for the No. 1 spot on the team.
“(Douglas) has the fastest time on the team for the year, but he and Sadoth have gone back and forth all season as the No. 1 guy on the team,” Deslattes said.
Familiarity with the region meet course shouldn’t be a problem. For the Coahulla Creek runners who were also part of the team last season, this will be their fourth time running the Dellinger Park course in two years.
“They’ve become pretty comfortable with it,” Deslattes said.
• Northwest’s softball team heads to Columbus with a chance to repeat as the Class 4A state champion.
The Lady Bruins (32-6) swept LaGrange and Marist in best-of-three series in the first two rounds of this year’s state playoffs, earning a spot in the eight-team, double-elimination state tournament for the fourth time in five years. Northwest has had its share of success in Columbus, too — in addition to last year’s title, the Lady Bruins were third in 2009 and fourth in 2011.
All state tournament games will be played at the South Commons Softball Complex. The Lady Bruins start tourney play with Wayne County at 4:15 p.m. Thursday. If they win, the Lady Bruins will play again at 7:45 p.m., facing the winner of the opening matchup between Woodland-Henry and Madison County.
The latter is quite familiar to Northwest as a postseason foe. Among the past meetings between the Lady Bruins and the Lady Red Raiders were last year’s title game, which Northwest won 2-1 on Bayli Cruse’s walk-off home run in the eighth inning.
If the Lady Bruins lose to Wayne County, they won’t play again until 11 a.m. Friday. If they beat Wayne County then lose their next game, they’ll return to action at 3 p.m. Friday.
With a pair of wins on Thursday, though, Northwest won’t play again until 7 p.m. Friday, with a win in that winners’ bracket championship clinching a spot in Saturday’s 12:20 p.m. Class 4A title game.
• Local sports fans who know the name Hannah Locke have extra reason to play a round of golf Saturday at Indian Trace Golf Course in Chatsworth.
The Helping Hannah Heal Golf Tournament will begin with registration at 7 a.m. The cost is $300 per four-person team, which includes lunch, and proceeds will help pay the medical expenses for Locke, a student-athlete at Coahulla Creek who was injured in a car accident earlier this year.
The select-shot tournament will award prizes to the top three teams in each flight. For more information, call Janice Helton at (706) 673-5353 or Ken Helton at (706) 463-2430.
• GHSA swimmers took to the pool for their first official practice of the 2012-13 season a week ago, and basketball players and wrestlers will take to the courts and mats today.
We’ll soon be previewing what the new season might hold for area teams, but right now we’re looking for help from area high school and middle school coaches and athletic directors. We need your schedules and numerical rosters for all winter sports as soon as possible, so send that information our way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to helping us plan coverage, we use this information to compile our weekly prep schedule, which appears each day in the Scoreboard section of the paper and online at daltonnow.com/events. It’s one of the best ways possible to let your fans know when and where you’re playing.
If you send your schedule but don’t receive a response within 24 hours acknowledging it has been received , please call Marty Kirkland, The Daily Citizen’s sports editor, at (706) 272-7742.
Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Have something you think he should highlight in “A Look Ahead”? Write to him at email@example.com.