Eagle’s Landing is one of nine Henry County cross country teams, and 11 Southern Crescent teams that will compete in the Battle of Atlanta meet Saturday at Nash Farms. (File Photo)
MCDONOUGH — After his team was overwhelmed at last season’s Class AAAAAA cross country meet, Morrow coach Anthony McKissic wanted to upgrade his team’s schedule.
The upgrade starts this weekend at the Battle of Atlanta at Nash Farm in Henry County.
“We are looking forward to using this as a measuring stick,” McKissic said. “I want to see how much better we have gotten. We will get to see some teams in our region.”
When Union Grove coach Eric Daugherty takes his team to Saturday’s meet, it’s going to have a familiar feel.
The annual meet hosted by Union Grove, Eagle’s Landing and Luella teams will see its largest group of participants this year. Anywhere from 60 to 70 teams from around Georgia will be on hand, and 11 of them are from the Southern Crescent.
Among them, other than the hosts, Woodland, Strong Rock, Locust Grove, Dutchtown, Eagle’s Landing Christian, Henry County, Lovejoy and Morrow.
And with so many teams from Henry County, Daugherty said it’s going to be a meet that will provide teams with an opportunity to get a handle on the competition ahead of next month’s Henry County championship meet.
“It’s definitley going to be a situation where we’re going to get a chance to preview some of the teams that we’re going to see again in a few weeks,” Daugherty said.
Which is important for Daugherty, because of what Union Grove is trying to accomplish.
“A few years ago, Eagle’s Landing set a record for seven straight county titles, and we can tie that this year,” Daugherty said. “That’s kind of what we’re pushing for.”
Last year’s meet drew almost 2,000 runners. And this year’s should draw more. But what won’t change for Union Grove runner Ally Adams is the fact that this meet will become a stepping stone toward a greater goal.
“Each one of these meets, and this one especially, are like building blocks,” Adams said. “It’s going to give us a real chance to see where we are stacking up with the rest of the teams, especially around here.”
Daugherty said that while other schools besides Eagle’s Landing have some good runners, he feels confident in his runners’ ability to not only perform well Saturday, but down the stretch in the season.
“We know that Ola has some good runners and of course Eagle’s Landing,” he said. “There’s some good competition here in this area. But we feel like our pack is strong. And we’re motivated to see where we stand going down the stretch of the season.”
Derrick Mahone contributed to this article.