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Westover statewide cross country meet enters 30th year Saturday at Robert Cross

Westover star runner Ericka Taylor is the reigning GHSA Class AAA cross country state champ coming into Saturday's 30th annual Westover Invitational at Robert Cross Middle School.

Westover star runner Ericka Taylor is the reigning GHSA Class AAA cross country state champ coming into Saturday's 30th annual Westover Invitational at Robert Cross Middle School.

ALBANY -- A river of runners is heading into Albany this weekend for one of the best and most inviting high school cross country meets in Georgia as Westover plays host to the 30th annual Westover Invitational on Saturday morning at Robert Cross Middle School.

Looking Ahead

WHO: 1,217 cross country runners from around the state.

WHAT: 30th annual Westover Invitational.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Saturday (girls start, followed by boys at 9 a.m.)

WHERE: Robert Cross Middle School.

"I think this is the biggest field we've ever had,'' Westover athletic director Harley Calhoun said this week. "We're going to have a total of 1,217 runners on this course on Saturday morning.''

Calhoun said he expects 300 runners in the girls varsity race, which begins at 8:30 a.m., and 325 boys varsity runners for the 9 a.m. race. There are another 150 girls in the junior varsity race and 250 boys running in the junior varsity race. There is also a middle school race, and Calhoun expects another 190 runners for that event.

"We have schools from all over Georgia, and we have 18 schools from the Atlanta Metro area coming to this meet,'' Calhoun said. "We are Georgia Track & Field's 'Meet of the Week' this week.''

The course at Robert Cross Middle School is fast and gorgeous -- much of the race is run through a plush pecan orchard.

"Teams love to come here for the fast times and the scenic course,'' Calhoun said. "It's the most scenic course in the state.''

The meet will feature St. Pius X boys team, which is ranked No. 1 in state in Class AAA, and North Gwinnett's girls, who are ranked No. 9 in Class AAAAA, as well as Lovett's girls, who are ranked No. 2 in Class AA.

Westover's Ericka Taylor ran the fastest time (18:59) in the school's history at the meet last year, and will be a contender for a title Saturday. Tift County's Hunter Honeycutt, who has run the fourth-fastest time in Georgia (15:38) this year will be a favorite, and Lee County's Jacob Kennedy, who has run the 10th-fastest time in the state (15:53), will also be a contender.