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Flood forces detour at Gunderson Invitational

CONYERS - The recent flooding has even had an impact on Saturday's Aubrae Gunderson Invitational at the Georgia International Horse Park.

Due to the cross country course's proximity to the Yellow River, about 900 feet of the course remained under water as of Thursday, forcing Heritage coaches Brian Smith and Scott Wade to make a slight reconfiguration.

"We are excited again this year to host the Aubrae Gunderson Invitational. We have over 50 high school teams competing," Smith said. "With all the rain this week, Coach Wade and I have been busy modifying the 5K course, but the Horse Park is just such a great venue for cross country. Some of the best runners and cross country teams in Georgia will be here to showcase their talent."

The event begins Saturday at 8 a.m. with the red girls varsity race, featuring local squads from Heritage, Alcovy, Newton, Rockdale and Salem.

In the next race, Heritage senior Aaron Worthy will try for his fifth straight individual win of the season in the red boys varsity race at 8:40. The Newton, Rockdale and Salem boys will also compete in that race.

The white varsity girls race, which features eight state-ranked squads, will go off at 9:20. Region 8-AAAA foes Winder-Barrow and Loganville will meet in that race, giving an early preview of the two favorites for the 8-AAAA title.

The Alcovy boys are slated to compete in the white boys varsity race at 10. That race includes four state-ranked teams.

The Eastside squads will compete in the blue girls varsity race at 10:40 and the blue boys varsity race at 11:20.

Junior varsity races are set for noon and 12:40 p.m. followed by middle school races.

Wade said that the footing on the course remains good even with the tremendous amount of rain that fell recently.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Aubrae Gunderson Invitational

· Who: 50 cross country teams, including local squads Alcovy, Eastside, Heritage, Newton, Rockdale and Salem

· Where: Georgia International Horse Park

· When: Saturday, first race starts at 8 a.m.