SUWANEE - Rayven Tirado walked off the track crying after Tuesday's 200-meter race. The Collins Hill senior thought she had just finished third and missed qualifying for the state.
"I thought I lost," Tirado said. "I thought I didn't make it to Albany."
After talking to a friend minutes later, Tirado's tears of sadness turned to tears of joy. Tirado's kick in the final stretch was enough to edge Norcross' Latoya Collins by1⁄10 of a second to earn second place and a trip to the state championships.
Tirado's run epitomized the day and the Region 7-AAAAA Track and Field Championships for the Collins Hill girls - no one could stop them.
The Eagles won three of nine events on Tuesday at Collins Hill High School and finished with 174 points to claim their fifth straight region title. Norcross finished second with 63 points and South Forsyth was third with 47 points.
Collins Hill had someone qualify for the region finals in all 16 events and had someone place in the top two in 13 events.
"The region title is one thing we don't have to worry about," Collins Hill head coach Andrew Hudson said. "It's getting enough people to the state meet."
Region champions for Collins Hill were Nicole Okolo (14.25 seconds) in the 100 hurdles, Lindsey Luce (45.87) in the 300 hurdles, and Jackie Drouin (10:56.75) in the 3,200. Drouin's time set the new region record, breaking her old region mark of 11:16.73. It was the second region record for Drouin in the two-day meet after setting the new mark in the 1,600 with a time of 4:58.09 on Monday.
Norcross began the day by winning the first three events. The 400 relay team of Latoya Collins, Kendra Davis, Danielle Davenport, Sandra Onyekwere ran a 49.01 to beat Collins Hill. Davenport (57.08) took the 400 crown and Kendra Davis (12.34) won the 100 title. In the last event of the day, the Blue Devils' 1,600 relay team took first with a time of 3:59.66. Collins Hill fought back to take to take second ahead of South Forsyth.
Collins Hill swept the 100 hurdles with Nicole Okolo winning in 14.25 and teammate Luce finishing second. It was the third individual title of the meet for Okolo, who also won the long jump and the triple jump on Monday.
Peachtree Ridge's Rhea Taylor was the only other Gwinnett region champ, taking the crown in the 100 ahead of Tirado with a time of 25.54.
Mill Creek's Bethany Ullrich was second in the 300 hurdles and Collins Hill's Alexis Nichols (800), Symone Glover (400) and Tirado (200) all finished second.