They went to Holly Springs Elementary together and were part of the Douglas County Road Runners, a team composed of aspiring young runners from several elementary schools in the county started by Kelly Williams, the current Chapel Hill cross country and track coach who was teaching physical education at Lithia Springs Elementary when she began the program in 1993.
Truitt and Lord kept turning heads with their running prowess throughout elementary school and into their sixth-grade year at Chapel Hill Middle, leading some to speculate at how good they might be in their final two years in middle school and on into high school.
“We were supposed to be the 'dream team,' that’s what they called it,” Truitt said.
But the "dream team" wasn’t meant to be. Truitt moved to the Fairplay Middle district for her seventh-grade year, setting her up to go to Alexander High, while Lord and fellow dream team member Hope Kimberly stayed at Chapel Hill. Truitt ended up competing against Lord and Kimberly in middle school track and then later in high school track and cross country.
Despite going their different ways five years ago, Truitt and Lord have lived up to their early childhood expectations. They are both ranked third in the state – Truitt in Class AAAA and Lord in Class AAA. And both are 2012 region cross country champions – Truitt won the Region 5-AAAA girls' title last Thursday and Lord followed up by winning the Region 4-AAA girls' title two days later.
On Saturday, Truitt and Lord will lead their respective teams at the GHSA State Cross Country Meet in Carrollton.
“We’re still pretty good friends,” Truitt said. “We keep up with each other’s times and we [talk about] what colleges we’re going to and just compare everything.”
And the connections between the No. 1 girls' runners for the Class AAAA third-ranked Lady Cougars and Class AAA fourth-ranked Lady Panthers don’t stop there.
Lord’s older brother, Taylor, led Chapel Hill to the Class AAAA State Cross Country Championship in 2007 while also winning the individual title. Truitt’s older brother, Alex, was the No. 4 runner for the Panthers on that same state championship team.
“I never really thought about it, but my big brother did it, so that’s why I started,” Truitt said. “My thing was always seeing him do well and win, which made me want to do good and win.”
Lord was in the same situation, watching her older brother set track records at Chapel Hill Middle as an eighth-grader before going on to win a combined seven state titles in track and cross country at Chapel Hill High.
“His coach pretty much made him come out and run [in eighth grade]. He ended up being really good, so we all started running,” Lord said.
Not coincidentally, Truitt and Lord also have younger brothers who are running standouts.
Lord’s younger brother, Cameron, is a sophomore at Chapel Hill High and the No. 1 runner for the 10th-ranked boys’ team. Cameron Lord gave the Lord family a sweep of Saturday’s Region 4-AAA Meet when he took the boys’ title.
“Winning that region championship, that felt really good, especially since I got seventh last year,” Cameron Lord said. “Winning this year feels really awesome.”
Truitt’s younger brother, Zack, attends South Douglas Elementary and runs for the Road Runners, the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department and the E-1 Track Club team. He won the boys' 10-and-under 800 and 1,600-meter runs at both the county and District 5 meets last summer while setting a new district record in the 800 with a time of 2:28.
“He’s amazing,” Truitt said. “He’s way better than any of us ever were.”