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County schools bring home three titles at cross country state meet
South, Lambert win team championships; West's Gilarza top individual
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Forsyth Central sophomore Calan Gizelbach (right) placed 17th in Class 7A at the GHSA State Championships on Friday in Carrollton. - photo by Lily McGregor Photography

Forsyth County had its greatest cross country showing in its history on Friday. South Forsyth and Lambert won team championships in the girls and boys race, respectively, while West Forsyth had the state’s top girls runner in Class 7A.

Liz Galarza finished as the top girls runner, bringing home the first individual cross country championship to West Forsyth and just the county’s second girls individual champion since North Forsyth’s Laura Mayo won in 2003.

Galarza, who has routinely finished in the top three of events throughout the season, edged South’s Kaylee DuPont by nearly 19 seconds with a finishing time of 18:58.66 (DuPont crossed the line with a time of 19:17.32).

The title is the result of a long, uphill climb for Galarza. The senior has had a breakthough season since missing her junior year with a foot injury and slowly climbing back up the ranks through the spring track season and this fall. Signs pointed toward a state championship back in September when she hit her personal record of 17:57.82, finishing just behind DuPont, at the Warpath Invitational in Canton. She then broke that on the same course, finishing second at the area meet two weekends ago with a time of 17:54.56.

DuPont’s second-place finish at state was one of four times from South runners in the top-20. Milicent Bergey finished ninth (19:57.24), Caroline Patterson 10th (19:59.13) and Aleesa de Castro 15th (20:25.10) to propel the Lady War Eagles to the first state championship for the school since the cheerleading squad won in 2003. South had runner up finishes at state in 2006, 2014 and 2015.

Lambert was led by Tyler Fox, who finished seventh in the boys race with a time of 16:32.47. Teammates Byron Grogan and Lee Keil came in at 15th and 16th, respectively, with times of 16:54.24 and 16:57.49. Brandon Burt finished 22nd and Tanner Baker 28th, rounding out the dominant performance from the Longhorns. Lambert can add to its trophy case the first state championship in cross country for the school. This was also the first state championship from a boys team in county history.

Forsyth Central’s Calan Gizelbach made noise, coming through in 17th in his first Class 7A race. Gizelbach traveled to state as an individual after posting a qualifying time at the area meet.