ATLANTA - The victory margin was smaller than ever, but that didn't matter to the Brookwood girls swimming and diving team on Saturday night.
Locked in a tight duel with Parkview, the Broncos won their third straight county title at the Adamsville Natatorium with 478 points, just 4.5 over the runner-up Panthers. The county championship was Brookwood's eighth in the past nine seasons.
"They just knew going in after losing to Parkview (in the regular season) that it was going to be close," Brookwood coach Greg Puckett said of his girls swimmers. "They were going to have to swim well in the morning (in preliminaries), to have an opportunity to earn those points in the evening. At the break, I scored it and we were barely ahead, so I told them everybody needed to step up again, hold their seeds, earn those points.
"It was so close at the end I couldn't really tell."
The boys championship race came down to two teams, with Parkview knocking off two-time defending champion Collins Hill. The Panthers won with 588.5 points and the Eagles finished with 539.5.
"We were just shocked," Parkview boys coach Jack Gayle said. "We came in with high expectations but we didn't necessarily know they'd come to fruition. I'm super proud of them. They stepped it up and left it all in the pool. That's all you can ask."
Brookwood's superior depth played a big part in the victory on the girls side. The team won just one individual event, the girls 200 freestyle relay in 1 minute, 42.96 seconds. The foursome of Jennifer Chambers, Haley Holcombe, Callie Merriman and Jana Mangimelli gave the Broncos their lone win.
Parkview won two relays, the 200 medley and the 400 free, on the way to the boys crown. John Tait, Matthew Odom, Collin Burchins and George Partin opened the meet with a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay in 1:40.09 while the Panthers' Mason Ruffing, Tait, Odom and Andrew Ruffing closed the night with a 400 free win in 3:16.81.
The Ruffing brothers went 1-2 in the 100 butterfly, with Mason winning in 53.55 and Andrew just behind at 53.73.
Collins Hill made a strong push on the boys side and broke a county mark in the 200 free relay in the process. The winning foursome of Jordan Wacker, Owen Chikazawa, Nat Emmett and Jared Robinson set the mark at 1:29.10.
Emmett and Parkview's Odom tied for first in a tight 100 breaststroke race, both finishing in 59.61, barely ahead of Brookwood's Zach Lopez. Emmett also was first in the 200 individual medley in 1:56.39.
Robinson won the 50 free county crown in 22.01 and added a victory in the 100 free at 47.92.
Brookwood finished third on the boys side with 381 points, followed by fourth-place Norcross and fifth-place Duluth. Grayson, Mill Creek, Shiloh,
Peachtree Ridge and North Gwinnett rounded out the top 10. Peachtree Ridge and North tied for ninth.
In girls action, Collins Hill edged North by 1.5 points for third place.
Peachtree Ridge was fifth, followed by Mill Creek, Duluth, Norcross, Dacula and Grayson.
North's girls won the 200 medley relay (1:52.14) and the 400 free relay (3:41.31) while the Parkview girls got one county title - Haley Staubach won the 100 fly in 59.00.
Also in girls action, Mill Creek's Jordan Evans was county champion in the 200 IM (2:08.15), Peachtree Ridge's Aileen Cole won the 50 free (24.09) and Duluth's Kelsey Scott won the 500 free in 5:03.53, narrowly edging Collins
Hill's Erin Dobeck (5:03.79). It went the other way around in the 200 free with Dobeck edging Scott for the title in 1:55.30.
Dacula's Abigail Alton placed first in the 100 free at 53.17 and became a two-time county champ by taking first in the 100 back in 58.92. In the 100 breast, South Gwinnett's Emily Roberts won her third straight county title in that event with a time of 1:04.97.
Other boys county champions were Peachtree Ridge's Scott Royal, who won the 500 free with a time of 4:48.10, and Kyle Diedrich of Brookwood, who was the county champ in the 100 back in a school-record time of 52.41.
South's Porter, Norcross' Rodriguez win scholarships
The Gwinnett County Swimming and Diving Booster Club awarded $1,500 scholarships to its two scholar athletes of the year on Saturday. The boys winner was Cole Porter of South Gwinnett and the girls award went to Norcross' Carmen Rodriguez.
The awards are based on academic accomplishment, athletic contributions, dedication and leadership.
The club also named its coaches of the year, which were picked in voting by the county's coaches. Peachtree Ridge's Jeremy Laird was Coach of the Year on the girls side, while North Gwinnett's David Perron and Parkview's Jack
Gayle shared the boys coaching honor.