South Forsyth at Region 6-AAAAAA meet (Chattahoochee Point Park in Suwanee)
BOYS: Ryan Peppenhorst was edged by Lambert’s Johnathan Schwind for the individual Region 6-AAAAAA title as No. 2-ranked South was runner-up to ninth-ranked West Forsyth for the team title. “It wasn’t our best showing on Saturday,” coach Van Munn said. “We match up with West pretty much straight away, and they had a little better race than we did.” Peppenhorst finished the course at Chattahoochee Point Park in Suwanee in 16:31.93, just eight-tenths of a second behind Schwind (16:31.12). Sophomore Trevor Kane (17:06.88) was fifth overall, followed close behind by Reed Vaughn (17:13) in seventh. Matt Patterson (17:17.70) and Luke Francis (17:35) also finished in the top 20. The War Eagles totaled 44 points with a one-minute, three-second split and an average time of 17:08, but it wasn’t enough to get past West (40 points).
GIRLS: Savannah Carnahan hung with Northview’s Lindsay Billings most of the way before Billings pulled away late, but the Lady War Eagles placed four runners in the top 10 to sneak by the Lady Titans for the Region 6 team championship. Carnahan finished in 18:04.48, 11 seconds behind Billings, despite dealing with illness on Saturday. Munn said the win over a balanced Northview team on Saturday should breed confidence. Freshman Kaylee DuPont finished third in 18:39.58 and Milicent Bergey made it three Lady War Eagles in the top five with a 19-minute, 38.8-second run. Emma Maisel was the fourth Lady War Eagle to cross the line and tenth overall in 20:11.93 and Savannah Ratcliff finished 19th (20:36.86). “Savannah and Kaylee both are incredible talents,” Munn said. “They both could be top 10 and even top five next weekend, and that would be tough to beat. That’s what we’ve been building towards.”
West Forsyth at Region 6-AAAAAA meet
BOYS: Munn wasn’t the only Forsyth County boys coach to say his team didn’t have its best day on a frigid Saturday morning in Suwanee. West head coach Clayton Tillery said some of his runners understandably looked flat, but the Wolverines got strong performances from Daniel Sexton, Will Harper and Tristan Harding and a third-place individual finish from the always-strong John Green to earn the Region 6-AAAAAA championship. “From day one, we’ve been working towards that state meet,” Tillery said. “Some guys ran up, some ran down on Saturday, but we feel very comfortable in our preparation for Carrollton.” Like the South girls, West put four runners in the top 10—Green (16:46.96), Sexton (17:11.54, sixth place), Brian Skoglind (17:13, eighth) and Harper (17:13.98, ninth) and a surprise 14th-place finish from Tristan Harding (17:29).
GIRLS: Sophomores Liz Galarza (19:02.62, fourth place) and Julie Ericson (20:06.80, ninth) turned in top-10 finishes as the Lady Wolverines placed third overall, behind South and Northview, to qualify for the state meet on Saturday in Carrollton. Tillery, who made it a preseason goal to get his no. 3 runner Dara Niemi to the state meet injury-free, held the junior out of Saturday’s meet to keep her ready for Carrollton. The Lady Wolverines also have been without Kaitlyn Griffith, who is returning from injury and won the junior varsity race in 20:49—that would have placed her fourth among West girls. Stephanie Shea (20:33.72, 18th), Kim Gibson (20:52, 22nd) and Amanda MacArthur (20:56.83, 23rd) rounded out the Lady Wolverines’ top five.
Forsyth Central at Region 7-AAAAA meet (Boling Park in Canton)
BOYS: As has been Central’s modus operandi all season, the Bulldogs did not place an individual in the top five—and still won Region 7-AAAAA comfortably on Saturday at Boling Park in Canton. Region 7 is the biggest in Class AAAAA and features Creekview (ranked No. 6), Cambridge, Dalton, and River Ridge, all of whom have been state-ranked at various times this season. “It’s a huge accomplishment,” Central coach Shannon Hays said. “We had three goals coming in to this year: win the county meet, where we fell just short, win the region, and finish as high as we can on the podium at state.” The Bulldogs had been faster than runners-up Creekview all season and were the better team again Saturday; Hays said the usually-fast Boling Park course was like a wind tunnel with gusts in runners’ faces. Max Warner (16:39.69), Austin Campbell (16:41.74) and Will Hasse (16:44.07) finished consecutively in seventh, eighth and ninth. Cole Gizelbach (16:50.78, 12th) and Wesley Bacastow (17:04.18, 15th) weren’t far behind; Charlie Webb missed Saturday’s meet because of illness but should be good to go for state.
GIRLS: Bonnie McKinnon turned in a 13th-place finish on Saturday with a 20-minute, 14-second run, but the Lady Bulldogs did not qualify for the state meet in Carrollton. McKinnon finished nearly two minutes ahead of the next Central runner, Ashley Malone (22:02.96, 43rd). Devyn Malinzak (22:41), Ashley Sciandra (23:31.75) and Claire Graff (23:48.61) were the other Lady Bulldogs to place.
Lambert at Region 6-AAAAAA meet
BOYS: Johnathan Schwind won his first race since winning the mile run at last season’s Region 6-AAAAAA track meet, chasing down John Green and Ryan Peppenhorst in the final half-mile, to win the boys individual Region 6 title in 16:31.12. The Longhorns finished third as a team to advance to the state meet. “[Lambert boys head coach] James Tigue has been telling Schwind what everyone already knew, that [he’s] got speed. He just needed to use it,” Lambert girls coach Natalie Leonard said in an email. “I've watched Schwind get second, third and so on. He was due for this.” Tyler Fox (17:26) and Christopher Sharp (17:36) also finished in the top 20 for the Longhorns. Hank (17:42, 21st place) and Byron (17:53, 26th) Grogan completed the Lambert top five.
GIRLS: For the first time in school history, a young and injury-riddled Lady Longhorn team did not qualify for the state meet. Lambert finished seventh at Chattahoochee Point Park. Abby Fox led the Lady Longhorns with her 24th-place finish (20:58). Elly Sherman (21:50.88, 36th) and Anna McCarthy (21:51, 37th) also finished in the top 40 for Lambert. “It just wasn't in the cards,” Leonard said. Kaylee Stilwell (21:59) and Sarah Stachura (22:01) rounded out Lambert’s top five. “Will be interesting to see how our county holds [at the state meet],” Leonard said. “We are, in many opinions, the toughest girls and guys region.”
North Forsyth at Region 6-AAAAAA meet
BOYS: Anthony Verdirame led North with a 50th-place finish in 18:47.93, but the Raiders finished 10th on Saturday in Suwanee and did not advance to Carrollton. Spencer Dooley was 63rd in 19:33.90. Jarred Benvenuto (20:19), Luke Ellis (20:22) and Micah Lonholm (20:35) finished back-to-back-to-back in 65th, 66th and 67th for North.
GIRLS: Gigi Fulkerson and Caitlan Hulsebus finished in the top 30, but it wasn’t enough for the Lady Raiders to qualify for the state meet. Fulkerson (21:11, 26th) and Hulsebus (21:38, 30th) were the only North runners under 22 minutes. Nina Carter (22:36), Stephanie Metzger (24:09) and Lauren Little (24:32) placed third, fourth and fifth for North, which finished ninth as a team.
Pinecrest Academy at Area 2-A-Private meet (Spartan Course in Athens, Ga.)
BOYS: Joel Parker (20:29), Dominic Piron (20:50) and Garrett Ruf (20:58) notched top-50 finishes for Pinecrest last Thursday at Athens Academy, but the Paladins did not qualify for the Class A-Private state meet. Hebron Christian, the No. 1-ranked team in Class A, won the Area 2 meet with two sub-17 minute finishes. For Pinecrest, Simon Cassar (21:04) and Grant Mulac (21:21) completed the Paladins’ top five.
GIRLS: Maria Carroll led the Lady Paladins with a 19th-place finish in 22:15.68, but Pinecrest could not qualify for next Saturday’s state meet. Meghan Jennings (24:01), Rebekah Hetzel (24:56), Samhita Mallavarapu (26:01) and Lucy Frain (26:18) also placed for the Lady Paladins.