The Northgate High School boys and girls cross country teams will attempt to defend their Coweta Cup title Saturday when they host the annual event starting at 8 a.m.
The event is usually held in October, but has been moved to this weekend.
Holding the event in September isn’t the only change to the Coweta Cup Cross Country meet. This year, the event has been expanded from seven runners to 10 to decide team scoring.
Newnan, Northgate and East Coweta have already run against each other in other events in both the boys and girls competitions.
It should be a wide-open field, especially in the boys portion of the meet. Northgate’s Hayden Hasberger is the defending Coweta Cup Champion, but has been unable to run in the earlier meets this season because of injuries.
However, he is expected to run in Saturday’s meet.
He could face his biggest challenge from East Coweta’s Kyle Harkabus. Harkabus was the Coweta Cup runner up last season and has already enjoyed a solid start to his 2017 season, finishing either first or second in each of his events.
The Newnan boys bring a strong field into the competition. Nine different runners have crossed the finish in under 19 minutes for the Cougars with Bo Palmer leading the way in each of Newnan’s meets so far this season.
With Hasberger out of the lineup for Northgate, Michael Nelson and Matthew Hill have turned in the top performances for the Vikings.
Hill is just a freshman, but already brings a solid running resume to his high school cross country team, including setting the school record at Madras Middle School for the mile run.
In the girls portion of the meet, Newnan’s Rachel Woods enters as the favorite to capture the individual girls title at this year’s Coweta Cup.
Among local girls runners, Woods has the fastest time in a cross country meet, finishing with a best time of 21:10.
Northgate’s Sydney Tuttle finished first among the Lady Vikings’ runners in each of its races.
East Coweta brings back two of its top runners from last year in Miya Dean and Holly Hind. Freshmen Shannon Ferry and Eliza Kuhne have also enjoyed impressive starts to their high school running careers.