The 45th version of the Gwinnett County championships was contested once again at the Georgia International Horse Park down in Conyers. But. that didn't stop rabid fans from making the trip down to cheer on their favorite teams and athletes. Twenty high schools lined up at the start and were off and running by 8 am. There were a few schools that opted out of the meet this season (Central Gwinnett, Duluth, GAC) As the 'featured meet of the week', Gwinnett got the royal treatment with MileSplit Georgia onsite shooting race video and photos.
Parkview Girls celebrate their title (photo via Parkview)
(photos below by Alex Brust)
Emma Geaney led Parkview to the county team title at 20:04.
It was a close three-team battle for the girls' title, but Parkview's top four threw down a low score making it too difficult for Mill Creek and North Gwinnett to come back from escaping with a four-point margin of victory. The Panthers' placed three runners in the top nine spots, led by Emma Geaney's third-place finish of 20:04. Sophomore, Abi Debebe placed 6th overall in 20:32, with Jamie Chen 9th at 20:52. Mill Creek was paced by Edith Kahiga who placed 7th overall in 20:47.
Parkview packed it in early.
Panther coach Mike Demarest commented on his girls' performance, "They say the only thing harder than winning a championship is defending a championship. Mill Creek made a heck of a bid in the 3rd mile to steal it, and honestly, I thought we lost by a point or 2 at the end. I'm so proud of my girls. They're used to being the hunters and today they were the hunted. They opened up hard from the gun and got some experience running at the front. It also wore them out by the 3rd mile and they really had to battle. But these are the types of races that you look forward to as a coach. You want your crew to be battle-tested. It's not supposed to be easy. Coach Sexton's girls ran an amazing race.
Abi Debebe claimed 6th overall clocking a 20:32.
The dynamic duo of Ellie Brewer and Brooke Browning from Hebron Christian.
Hebron Christian dominated upfront as the junior duo of Brooke Browning and XC newbie Ellie Brewer controlled the race early and never looked back, sweeping the top two spots for the Lions. Browning won her second consecutive race posting the winning time of 19:29. Brewer stayed within hailing distance going 19:48.
Gwinnett County Girls Champ Brooke Browning
Coach Mike Taylor commented, "So proud of Brooke and Ellie and our whole team. There are lots of talented runners in Gwinnett County this year and Brooke and Ellie held them all off throughout the race. Brooke and Ellie started the race going out hard and never looked back. Proud of Georgia Piper as well for getting back onto the all-county team with a 13th place finish. Our girls' 5th place finish is the best finish at county by girl or boy team in school history! Lots of history made Saturday!"
Ellie Brewer of Hebron Christian had another outstanding race.
Allie Wardle from Brookwood raced to fourth place at 20:19
Karsyn Rodney of Dacula rounded out the top five going 20:29
Senior Edith Kahiga led Mill Creek to second placing 7th overall in 20:47.
The boys' championship race got the day underway. Mother nature cooperated throughout the morning at the Horse Park, it was a bit muggy with some sprinkles early, but eventually, the sun poked its head out with the breeze picking up making conditions favorable for racing.
Delfino Juarez was 10th for Norcross posting a 16:56
Will Bray of Brookwood, Ben Butcher of Dacula, and Schlicht pull away from the chase pack.
Will Bray brings it coming down the stretch.
Andrew Todd was county runner-up crossing the mats at 16:29
Sebastian Rodriguez of Archer (16:44) holds off Ethan Nordman of Mill Creek (16:45) for 5th place.