Ring Season: Boys’ Cross Country Dominates en route to 6A State Title



The Dubs take the Dub: The team hoists the trophy; a feeling they longed for last year.

A dominant 2021 left the boys’ cross-country team with a regional championship and a low podium finish at state, but they were not satisfied; they wanted gold. Their “championship or bust” mentality fueled the Dubs’ season and their desire to leave the State Championships in Carrollton with rings around their fingers.

By the numbers, the Dubs were atop the 6A Region standings before and after each meet, but being heavy favorites changed nothing. They worked hard to improve week in and week out because they would have to be near-perfect to win it all. To even reach state, the boys, led by seniors Sumner Kirsch and Holt Harris, were put through the gauntlet of tough races, including the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and Regional Championships, where they punched their ticket to Carrollton.

The Dubs were hot, but a well-rounded Pope team was close behind. The Warriors’ sub-15:45 runners, Kirsch, Truman Thompson, and Teddy Meredith, were locks to meet their needed times, but it was the four and five spots that would make or break their championship aspirations. The team needed its “secret weapon,” Harris, to succeed in the fourth slot, and one of their underclassmen stars to place competitively. “Cross country is a team sport, and we needed all of our boys, from one to five, to do well if we wanted a chance at winning,” said Kirsch.

Come race day, the Warrzone showed up in full support of the Dubs, bringing an unfamiliar energy to cross-country meets. As all 225 runners took off racing for an early lead, cheers from the Warrzone echoed throughout the crowd. Kirsch was the first to cross the finish line, placing fifth overall. He was shortly followed by Thompson in seventh, then Meredith in 16th. Passing three runners in the final leg, Harris, the Dubs X-Factor, finished strong at 24th. However, the Dubs were not out of the woods yet. North Atlanta runners and fans waited for one of their three underclassman to cross the finish line. As anticipation–and nervousness–grew, sophomore Cam Shapiro flew around the final bend and across the finish line, placing 47th, putting the Dubs in the driver’s seat.

Unable to wait for timekeepers to calculate scores, Thompson and Harris took matters into their own hands, pulling out their phones and completing the most important math problem of their lives—the one that crowned them state champions. A season built on redemption ended perfectly as the Dubs hoisted their trophy atop the podium.