Forsyth Central’s boys cross country team left Cumming on Friday afternoon with sights set on winning the school’s first state title in the sport. The Bulldogs had hoped to keep the race close enough to go after Clarkston, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA, in the final mile.
Central never got a chance to run Clarkston down, as the Angoras and Flowery Branch pulled away in a two-team race that Clarkston narrowly won. The Bulldogs finished fifth overall, the highest finish of any Forsyth County boys team at the state meet.
As usual, the Central ‘Pack’ ran well together, as the Bulldogs’ first and fifth runners finished within 28 seconds on each other. Will Hasse crossed the finish line, set after a long downslope, first for Central on Saturday morning in 31st place (17:34.76). Austin Campbell (17:38.37, 38th), Max Warner (17:41.67, 40th) and Cole Gizelbach (17:48.14, 49th) followed close behind, and Wes Bacastow was the fifth Bulldog to place in 18:03.05.
Clarkston won the team title with 101 points, edging Flowery Branch (108 points). Starrs Mill was third with 156 points, followed by Alexander (184 points) and Central (191). Kell’s Logan Poteet won the Class AAAAA individual title easily in 16:14.93. Hakeem Mustafaa (16:28.14) of Shaw, Allen Clark (16:30) of Lakeside-Evans, Jake Shewbert (16:37.02) of Flowery Branch and Brennan Garriques (16:37.89) of Creekview rounded out the top five.
Hasse, Gizelbach, Warner, Bacastow and Charlie Webb (who struggled with illness late in the season) all will return as seniors next season with loads of experience and plenty of confidence from spending much of the season ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in Class AAAAA and a strong finish in Carrollton.