Not only have the Golden Lions maintained their dominance in AAA, they have extended it to all classifications with the top ranking in the All-Class category in the latest GaMilesplit.com state poll.
“We don’t care if we’re No. 1 in all classifications right now as much as we care about where we’re ranked at the end of the season,” St. Pius X boys coach Ryan McClay said. “Having said that, it’s always an honor to be ranked No. 1 in all-classification.”
Meanwhile, the St. Pius girls cross country team hasn’t done too badly itself.
The Lady Golden Lions, last year’s state girls runner-up in Class AAA, is currently ranked second behind Region 6AAA rival Blessed Trinity.
The St. Pius boys have seemingly picked up where they left off from last year’s second straight state title with a win at the season-opening Walton/Peachtree Ridge Stage Races Aug. 25 and a runner-up showing at the Carrollton Invitational on the state meet course Sept. 15.
The Golden Lions also placed ninth at the Great American Cross Country Festival in Cary, N.C., featuring many of the top teams in the Southeast, Sept. 29.
The St. Pius girls have had a couple of first-place finishes of their own at the Berry Clara Bowl Invitational Sept. 8 and the Gene Mullin Invitational at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Oct. 6 as well as a runner-up finish at the Battle of Atlanta meet Sept. 29.
“Everything has gone very well,” St. Pius X girls coach Debbie Guilbeau said. “We’ve had some injuries and we’ve had some runners miss races because of SATs and ACTs. But, in spite of all that, we have done really well.”
Leading the way once again for the boys team is Austin Sprague, the third-place individual finisher in AAA in 2011, who recently ran a personal-best 15 minutes, 20 seconds at the Great American meet.
Senior Calvin Tirrell and juniors Andrew Anastasiades and Joseph Ferrugia are the Golden Lions’ other top runners.
Senior Devon Dabney leads the St. Pius girls squad, which includes seniors Elizabeth Pettit and Sarah Fristoe and freshmen Katie Glenn and Emma Jayne Braxton.
Both the St. Pius boys and girls will compete at the Coach Wood Invitational Saturday and the boys team will be at the Last Chance Invitational in Carrollton Oct. 27 as they get ready for the Region 6AAA meet, which will be held at Nash Farms in Hampton on Nov. 3.
The Golden Lions will go for their third straight AAA title at the state meet in Carrollton Nov. 10, where the Lady Golden Lions will aim for their first state crown since 2009.