High school notebook

Region championships took center stage on the cross country trails throughout Georgia last week, offering sneak previews of the upcoming state meet.

In Region 4-AAAAAA, the Marietta boys edged host Harrison by 12 points after having its top four runners finish in a 16-second span between 16:01 and 16:17. Roles were reversed in the girls heat, with Harrison getting the best of Marietta by five points. The Blue Devils’ Mary Jeanne Assinzo won in 18:51.

In 5-AAAAAA on Saturday, Walton and Etowah finished first and second, respectively, in the boys and girls meets. The Raiders also boasted the individual champion, Avery Bussjager, who clocked a time of 18:19. Kenan Farmer of Walton finished in 15:44, three seconds ahead of Woodstock’s Owen Bailey.

St. Pius blitzed the competition in both 6-AAA competitions. The Golden Lion boys turned in a blistering average time of 15:46, led by Austin Sprague’s 15:01. The St. Pius girls also won comfortably, thanks to Margaret Crawford’s individual triumph in 18:47.

Most of the top teams in AA hail from Region 6, which competed at Wesleyan. The Lovett girls took advantage of Wesleyan’s decision to rest some of its top runners and defeated third-place Wesleyan and runner-up Westminster.

The state cross country championships will take place Saturday at Carrollton High School.

Softball: Collins Hill won the AAAAAA state title for the fourth time in five years behind a prolific offense that scored five or more runs in six of the Eagles' nine playoff games. The Eagles were led by seniors Jordan Adicks, Shelly Mooney, Calli Star and Laine Simmons. Coach Paul Pierce's squad lost one playoff game, to Harrison in the double-elimination championship bracket.

Buford won its sixth consecutive state title and second in a row in AAA. The Wolves lost one game this season, to Collins Hill. Buford seniors Bria Bush (Tennessee), Tessa Daniels (Florida State), Jordan Deep (Georgia Tech), Noah Sudderth (Georgia Gwinnett) and Morgan Walters (Missouri) will play softball in college next season.

In AAAAA, Ola won its first softball state title in school history, but it was the second consecutive championship by a Henry County school. Union Grove won it last year. Also in Henry County, Eagle’s Landing Christian won its fifth softball state title and first since 2009, its last of four consecutive state titles.

Volleyball: Walton was the only school to successfully defend its state crown this season, and a big reason for the Raiders' AAAAAA title defense and current run of four consecutive state championships was Jessica Sloan. The outside hitter committed to play at Dayton next fall and finished her senior season with 546 kills in 116 sets played. Sloan added 19 kills on 40 swings in the state championship.

Class AAAAA champion McIntosh will graduate twins Rhana and Rhegan Mitchell along with Miara Bryant, Mollie Michel, Kassandra Robert and Abbi Schelkopf. The Mitchell twins are bound for Virginia Tech, and Schelkopf is headed to Jacksonville State.

Leah Hardeman, who finished the season with more than 500 kills, including 35 kills in the state championship, led St. Pius to the AAA title. Setter Molly Gunn and libero Ryan Boykin are the future of the Golden Lions.

Wesleyan has a lot of talent returning next season. Senior Hannah Hoskins will be missed as the Wolves’ back line of defense, but Noni Thompkins, Kendra Koetter, Lauren Frerking and Emma Bivins all return, and the champs will be a favorite in AA. Koetter recorded 23 digs and added 43 assists in the state championship game. Frerking finished with 17 kills.

Class A state champion Holy Innocents’ got clutch performances from sophomore Haley Collins, junior Sarah Joe and sophomore Sarah Porter in the Class A state title match.