Flowery Branch will play host to the Hall County Cross Country Championship today, as the varsity boys, girls and junior varsity teams from nine area schools converge on Flowery Branch’s cross country course at Chestnut Mountain Elementary, where they’ll race against local rivals.
North Hall cross country coach Sam Borg said the event is not about advancing in state or region rankings, nor posting personal best times. Rather, there’s something much less tangible at stake for each of the competing Hall County programs.
“This one’s really for pride,” Borg said. “A lot of teams are in different regions and different classifications, so it’s unique to get just Hall County schools.”
Borg went on to explain that Flowery Branch’s difficult course is likely to prevent most teams from producing eye-opening times. But that does not mean the meet will be
lacking for high-level competition.
Both boys and girls teams from North Hall are ranked in the top five in the Class 3A, while Chestatee and Gainesville boys hold top-10 designations in 4A and 6A, respectively. Flowery Branch’s girls team is ranked 10th in 4A.
And while most athletes are used to going to larger events — sometimes competing against 30 to 50 other schools at a single meet — the local angle of Saturday’s competition will still provide plenty of motivation, according to Borg.
“The fact that it’s Hall County Championships, that’ll get the adrenaline going,” he said.
Borg even went as far as to compare the Hall County Cross Country Championship to another local sporting event — the Lanierland basketball tournament.
With each area school pitted against each other and members of all teams largely familiar with everyone competing, a win on Saturday would amount to a major confidence boost, as well as good old fashioned bragging rights.
“It’s not going to affect your region standings and it’s not going to determine who goes to the state meet,” Borg said. “But it’s kind of like winning in Lanierland. You get to wear your jersey to the store, the movies and the mall and just be proud of your school.”