Six in a row
Collins Hill, Winslow defend state titles

CARROLLTON - It doesn't matter how many times Collins Hill wins the cross country state championship, it never gets old.

Each season brings new challenges, budding stars emerge and expectations to meet.

Saturday was no different.

Amanda Winslow defended her individual championship, No. 1 Collins Hill claimed a sixth straight title and Vicky Winslow emerged as the Eagles' next possible star.

"It's so special. People are saying things about best team ever, I don't know," Amanda Winslow said. "We just came here knowing this our last race representing our school. I think it's definitely special. It never gets boring."

"Every title is different, every team is different," said senior Allyson McGinty, who has won four team state titles. "It just shows how much we've worked to accomplish this."

Collins Hill, which is ranked No. 2 in the southeast and No. 3 in the nation, finished with 19 team points as it had five girls in the top five and six finish in the top 15. Those accomplishments along with having seven runners finish in under 19 minutes last week at region and winning six of the seven meets it competed in, make this year's team one of the best, if not the greatest girls cross country team ever in Georgia.

"I'm obviously biased, but I'd like to think they are," Collins Hill coach Andrew Hudson said.

Amanda Winslow won her second straight state title with a time of 18 minutes. Her time was the fastest out of all five classifications on Saturday. It's the fifth straight year Collins Hill has had an individual state champion with Jackie Drouin winning from 2004-06.

"Last year it was really special because it was the first time I was here," Amanda Winslow said. "Now it's a year later and it's the last time. It's pretty special this year. This is the last time I'm representing Collins Hill in this sport. It's really special to end it this way."

Winslow's younger sister Vicky took third with a time of 18:42, while Allyson McGinty was fifth, Nicky Akande was sixth, Chloe Whitworth was ninth and Sydney Williams was 14th. Briana Crawford was 29th.

"She's progressed so much in one year," Amanda said of Vicky. "It's not just the fact that she's my sister, she's been working so hard. It's so nice to share something like that in the family."

Gwinnett County swept the top four trophy spots with North Gwinnett taking second, Parkview was third and Brookwood finished fourth.

"Our girls ran with a lot of guts today," North Gwinnett coach Mark Karen said. "At minimum, second place was our goal."

The runner-up finish is the best in school history for the Bulldogs, who took third last year. Nicole DiMercurio was North's top runner, finishing fourth with a time of 18:47. Laura Serres was 16th, Lauren Recchia was 18th and Chelsea Peele was 25th.

"Nicole has never been that close with the Collins Hill girls all year, so for her to do that in the biggest competition is big time," Karen said. "I'm very proud of her."

Parkview's Julianne Kurke was 12th, Brookwood's Carly Egan was 15th, Brittany Moreland was 17th and Brookwood's Haley Carson was 19th.