COVINGTON - Eastside's cross country teams are in good shape as they try to do something they have never done before - send both squads to state.
Region 8-AAA will hold its cross county meet today at Athens Christian. The girls run at 3:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 4 p.m.
The Eastside girls earned a bid to the Class AAA state meet with a fourth place finish last season. The boys are still looking for their first trip.
It's a race for the fourth-place spot for the Eastside boys, and they have the edge in average times by 30 seconds in region competition
Eastside's team average this season is 18 minutes, 57 seconds, which is eight seconds faster than last season and 30 seconds faster than Stephen County's average of 19:27.
Franklin County has the slowest team average with 19:48.
Juniors Sam Johnson and Michael Hammock, along with sophomore Kyle Yeomans, are a big part of Eastside's faster average this season.
Johnson leads the team with an average time of 17:48, followed by Hammock (18:42) and Yeomans (18:44).
Also representing the boys are seniors Dalton Bender, Jason Croom and Mikey Rue and sophomore Michael Johnson-Weeks.
Just like the boys who cut their average time from last season, the Eastside girls cut 22 seconds off last year.
The Eastside girls finished fourth last year with an average team time of 24:08.
This year, however, Carlisle feels that they have a good chance of coming in third with region newcomer Archer (24:34) and Stephens County (25:18) snipping at their heals.
Based on team times, newcomer Mountain View has the best chance of winning region with a time of 20:53 followed by Oconee County (20:57).
Running for Eastside are seniors Taylor Davis (27:07), Alle Haynie (22:40), Mariah Parker and sophomores Blakely Smith (22:40), Deanna Kaluta (25:30), Melissa Howard (25:51) and Naomi Denby (23:18).