For the last four years Collins Hill has dominated girls track and field in Gwinnett County. Today at the Gwinnett County Track and Field Championships, the rest of Gwinnett has the opportunity to dethrone the Eagles, but it won't be easy.
"That's our goal," said Collins Hill coach Andrew Hudson about defending his team's county title. "We have the athletes to do it. We just have to make sure everyone is healthy and they do what they have to do to win."
While Collins Hill aims to for its fifth consecutive county title, the boys field is wide open and today's field events will likely see several county records broken.
Collins Hill returns the county's 100-meter hurdles champion in Nicole Okolo, the defending state 3,200-meter state champ in Jackie Drouin and the state high jump runner-up in Maya Moore.
Moore is signed up for the meet, but may not participate due to her basketball commitment. If the junior does compete, she has the chance to set the county record in the high jump along with Brookwood's Melanie Trumbo.
"This might be one of the best crews if not the best ever to come through here," Hudson said of his team. "That's saying a lot considering some of the athletes we've had come through here."
At last year's county meet, Okolo set the county record in the 100 hurdles with a mark of 14.28. Two weeks ago at the Cobb-Gwinnett Challenge, Okolo improved that time with a mark of 13.83. Okolo could break the county long jump record today. The junior has cleared 18-feet, 41⁄2 inches this year, which is almost four inches better than the current record.
The Dacula duo of Eve Machovec and Erica Penk also return to defend their county championships.
Machovec won the discus championship last year and later took fourth at state. Two weeks ago the sophomore captured discus and shot put titles at the Cobb-Gwinnett Challenge. Machovec will aim for the county discus record of
Penk, the defending state champion in the pole vault, will defend her county title of 10 feet from last year's meet. After Penk and Brookwood's Kelly Bridges set the county mark last year, Penk could break her own record today and will face competition from GAC's Annalise Peters.
Meadowcreek's Brittany Hall, one of the fastest runners in the nation and the defending state 800-meter champ, is back to defend her crown.
On the boys side, the county title has changed hands three times this decade with Brookwood winning four of those championships, including the last three.
However, this year's competition is as wide open as any. Norcross, Parkview and Collins Hill should be the top teams to try and take the county title away from the Broncos.
Not only is the team competition wide open, but so is the individual events.
Some of the hotly contested events include the 200, 400, pole vault and the relays.
Grayson senior Brandon Erwin will look to defend his 200- and 400-meter titles, but could face tough competition in both.
Parkview junior Caleb King, who already beat Erwin in a meet earlier this month, should be Erwin's toughest competition in the 200. Erwin ran a 49.43 to take last year's 400 title, but Shiloh's Donald Taylor and South's Miles Ottinot will challenge Erwin. Ottinot ran a 48.6 at the Cobb-Gwinnett Challenge earlier this month to beat Erwin.
Parkview's Michael Martin was second in the county pole vault last year with a mark of 13-feet. Martin was the state runner-up last year, but will face stiff competition from Mill Creek's Cameron Cheek. The junior's top pole vault is 15-6, a foot and a half higher than the current county mark. GAC's Michael Hughes will also contend for the county title and record.
In the high jump, Daniel Averso from Providence Christian in the favorite and could break the county mark and Dacula's Israel Machovec will be vying for the shot put record.
The county meet will take place today and Monday at Mill Creek High School. Today's events feature the first round of the varsity field events, which begin at 9 a.m., the varsity finals for the 1,600-meter run, and the final round of varsity field events. In the second session of the day, qualifying for the varsity running events will begin at approximately 2 p.m. The meet resumes Monday at 4 p.m. with the finals of the running events.