SUWANEE - If the Dennis McCormick Road Race is the showcase fundraising event for the Collins Hill Cross Country team, then it looks like the Eagles have two glittering prizes behind door No. 2. For the first time in the race's 11-year history, two current Collins Hill runners finished first on a steamy Saturday morning outside of Collins Hill High School.
Senior Phillip O'Brian knocked off defending champion and former Eagles' star Nathan Frasier to win the 2007 race in a time of 16:20.
"I was just trying to stay with Nathan," O'Brian said. "I figured if I could stay with him I'd be in good shape. I'm extremely happy (with my time). It's a tough course and I was able to cut 22 seconds off my time from last year."
The tough course that stretched along Taylor Road, into the Richland subdivision and back into Fahring Field features a tough uphill climb during the second mile. That was where O'Brian made his move. Frasier had the lead for the first mile and a half, only to see the new Collins Hill captain pass him on that veritable Heartbreak Hill and never look back.
"I really was able to catch up to him on the second mile," O'Brian said. "That is a really tough part of the course and I decided to go and I didn't see him go with me"
O'Brian finished nine seconds ahead of the 2006 Collins Hill graduate and current UGA runner. Collins Hill senior Rob Manning finished in third (16:24) ahead of Former Eagle turned Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Tim Guglielmo (16:44). Brandon Williams passed two runners in the final 100 feet to take fifth.
On the women's side, that shiny prize behind the second door may be the next in a long line of great Collins Hill distance runners. Junior Amanda Winslow took home her first McCormick title, blowing away the rest of the women's field in 19:27. The next best woman wasn't seen for another minute.
"The race went really well for me," Winslow said. "I really didn't see any other girls for most of the race so I just focused on passing other guys."
She picked off a few guys ,too. The junior had the 10th-best time of the estimated 325 runners on Saturday. An impressive feat for a runner who will be making her cross country debut for the Eagles who are looking to win their fifth straight state title this year. Winslow transferred in from Ohio in January and helped Collins Hill win a track and field title last year. Now she'll have a chance to fill the void left by Jackie Drouin.
"We know what she can do by now," Collins Hill head coach Andrew Hudson "I was very impressed with her and Phillip today. She has had a great summer and she was great today especially with the conditions being so tough."
Fortunately for those pounding the pavement, the weather was forgiving considering the record heat the past few days. Temperatures were around the low 80s at the 7:30 a.m. start time. Jackie Seibert took second (36th overall) at 20:29. She was also first in the 25-29 age bracket. Three current Eagles rounded out the top five. sophomore Nicky Akande was third (20:46) followed by juniors Allyson McGinty (20:52) and Briana Crawford (21:00).