WHILE this year’s MainStreet Newspapers meet won’t serve as a preview of the Region 8-AA championships like it did last year, Jefferson is plenty excited to be hosting the area meet which will feature several top 10 teams in the state.
The race is set for Thursday at Crow’s Lake in Jefferson. Varsity girls start at 4:30 p.m. The varsity boys run at 5 p.m. The junior varsity race follows at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s just a way to give our kids an opportunity to run and keep the MainStreet meet going,” Jefferson cross country coach Allen Thompson said.
Last year’s event was a large one, drawing 17 teams because the Region 8-AA meet followed several weeks later at Crow’s Lake.
“It was much bigger because it was a sneak peak for the region,” Thompson said.
Oglethorpe County is hosting this year’s region meet.
This year’s MainStreet meet will draw seven teams and around 300 runners to run the 5K, one-loop course. Other teams in attendance will be East Jackson, Jackson County, Athens Christian, Johnson, Commerce and East Hall.
There will be plenty of quality runners on hand with six top 10 teams — between the boys’ and girls’ polls in Class AA and Class A — taking to the trail.
On the boys’ side, Jefferson and East Jackson are ranked no. 5 and 9 respectively in Class AA, while Athens Christian is ranked third in Class A. For the girls, Athens Christian is no. 6 in Class A, while Jefferson ranks no. 9 in Class AA, and Jackson County — the defending Region 8-AA champs — checks in at no. 5
Jackson County will be plenty familiar with this course. Like Jefferson, Jackson County practices at Crow’s Lake.
“It’s kind of a unique situation because both us and Jackson County train out here,” Thompson said. “So it’s like a home meet for both of us.”
Thompson expressed gratitude for being able to use a facility like Crow’s Lake and is excited about hosting several local teams.
“Just running at Crow’s and just to have these teams be able to come here and not travel far and run on a true cross country course,” Thompson said.
Jefferson will also use the Maintreet Meet to hold its senior night ceremonies.
Thompson hopes Jefferson has more home meets on the calendar in the years to come.
“We want to continue to host meets in the future, not just the MainStreet meet,” he said. “So we’ll revisit that in 2012.”