As he walked across an expansive meadow near the Chattahoochee River, Robinson was watching his team practice for today’s Region 5-AAAA meet while visualizing potential course routes for next year when Alexander will be a member at Foxhall.
Robinson is already planning to move his annual Asics Invitational, which had 84 teams competing this year, from the McIntosh Nature Preserve in Whitesburg to Foxhall Resort in 2013. And with 1,100 acres to work with at Foxhall, Robinson invisions hosting even bigger meets there.
His boys and girls teams — both ranked third in Class AAAA in Ga.MileSplit.com’s final regular-season rankings — got a first-hand look at the resort Monday, running amidst riders on horseback and streams stocked with fish.
Today, they’ll be back on their home course at the Clinton Nature Preserve where they’ll host the eight-team region meet. The boys’ varsity race starts at 3 p.m., followed by the girls at 3:30 and then an open race.
Alexander has traditionally been a cross country powerhouse, but their region trophy collection of late doesn’t tell that story. The boys haven’t won a region title since 2008 and the girls won their last region championship in 1999.
“Even the year we got second in the state (2007), we were second in the region,” Robinson said.
Those long droughts should come to an end today.
Columbus is the only other ranked team in the region, with the Blue Devils boys ranked eighth and their girls ranked seventh.
“I would have to say we’re the better team going in, in both boys and girls, especially the girls,” Robinson said.
Brittany Truitt and Chloe Camp have been solid all year at the top-two spots and should be contenders to place at the state meet Nov. 10 in Carrollton.
Truitt is ranked eighth in Class AAAA with a top run of 19:16.30 in the 5K and Camp is ranked 13th with a 19:56.77, times that put them at the head of the pack among all runners in Region 5-AAAA.
No. 3 runner Oumie Mbye, No. 4 Amber Jent and No. 5 Anna Scasny round out Alexander’s top five, with Noelle Welch and Haley Johnson neck-and-neck in the 6 and 7 spots.
“On the girls side, if they take care of business, we’ll be good,” Robinson said. “There’s a couple of good individual runners— LaGrange has a good No. 1 and Columbus has a good No. 1 girl — but after that we should be in good shape.”
The Cougars’ top-three boys have been pretty steady all year with Broc DuCharme, a potential state placer, at No. 1, Michael Scasny, the boys only senior, at No. 2 and Jacob King at No. 3.
Scasny has the Cougars’ best 5K time at 16:26.62, which ranks him 12th in Class AAAA. DuCharme has a top run of 16:27.97, which came at the Asics Invitational and puts him at 13th in the state rankings.
Robinson said the 4-7 spots have changed a lot during the season.
Lance Smith has been pretty consistent at No. 4 for the Cougars, but Cantrell Jackson and Jordan Howell have made some headway at the No. 4-6 positions. Tyler White has been primarily the No. 6 or 7 runner for Alexander.
The Cougars ran two meets in October — the Asics Invitational on Oct. 13 at McIntosh in Whitesburg and the First Ever Mandarin Mustang Invitational on Oct. 20 in Jacksonville, Fla. As cross country goes, the temperature was pretty warm at both meets for optimal running conditions.
So, for Robinson, while being back at Clinton today will be nice, the fall weather that has hit the area over the past week will be even more of a treat.
“It’ll be good to be back on our home course,” Robinson said. “I like the weather even better. It’s supposed to be 63 degrees as a high, humidity’s going to be low. If this wind gets out of here, it could be very, very fast.”