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Parkview sweeps Region 8 titles

LOGANVILLE - As soon as Brian Detweiler crossed the finish line a big smile came over his face. A standout cross country runner, the Parkview senior gave up soccer to try track and field.

At Wednesday's Region 8-AAAAA championships he had the biggest win of his brief track career. Detweiler won the Region 8 title in 3,200 meters and Brookwood's Tyler Anyan was second, leaving defending state champion Kirubel Erassa of Grayson out of next week's state meet.

"I just wanted to stay with them," Detweiler said. "I got lucky. We were all even. I can't believe it. We all had a good race."

Detweiler put the exclamation mark on the Parkview track program as it won the boys and girls Region 8-AAAAA titles.

The girls team scored 146.50 points, while Brookwood had 129 points and Grayson was third with 88.25.

"The girls just made the day," Parkview track coach Mark Whitley said. "They came out of nowhere and worked their butts offs. I'm just really proud of them."

The boys had a commanding lead going into Wednesday's running events and built to their score to finish with 172 points. Grayson was second with 116 and Brookwood was third with 97.

"The boys won county and they won region, and that's just awesome," Whitley said.

In the boys 3,200, Detweiler, Anyan and Erassa stayed in a tight pack for the first seven laps. Erassa made his move with 250 meters left in the race and as they came around the final turn, Detweiler made one last surge. The senior won with a time of 9 minutes, 20.85 seconds. Anyan was second with 9:20.91 and Erassa was third with 9:20.96.

"That just made the day," Whitley said. "No one saw that coming."

Ethan Kasson was Parkview's only other individual region champ on Wednesday. The senior won the 200 and 400 region titles and anchored the 1,600 relay championship team.

"Coming in I knew I was going to be the top dog in the prelims," said Kasson, who also won county titles in both events earlier this season. "I had to step up and do my best."

Shiloh's Eugene Glenn, a standout running back in football, won the 100 with a time of 10.95 seconds. The junior held off Parkview's Julian Vann, another football standout.

Brookwood's Robert Edwards won the 100 hurdles (14.73) and Patrick Kelley claimed the 300 hurdles (39.83) crown. Grayson's Billy Kovalczyk won the 800 (1:56.72) title, South Gwinnett's 400 relay team edged Parkview for the region title and Brookwood took the 3,200 relay.

In the girls meet, Grayson's Taren White and Central Gwinnett's Irrion Conaler were the only double individual region champs.

White dominated the 100 and 200 despite still being bothered by a pulled hamstring. She turned in times of 12.09 seconds in the 100 and 25.28 seconds in the 200 to claim her third-straight Region 8 titles in both events. She also led the Rams to the 1,600 relay championship.

"She's been super tough. I think she's come back tough and determined," Grayson coach Kristi Rhine said. "I think she was a little angry after being DQed in the 400 relay, so that was a little motivation. It's just fun to watch her."

Conaler has emerged as another standout junior in Gwinnett County by winning the 400 meter and 300 hurdles.

"In the 400, I was in a little competition with (Parkview's) India (Bell)," Conaler said. "I just had to do my best."

Brookwood's Jasmine Billings claimed the 100 hurdles (14.88) title and Carly Egan won the 3,200 (11:44.83), Parkview's Melissa Stephenson took the 800 (2:23.84) title, Shiloh won the 400 relay and Brookwood won the 3,200 relay.

The top two finishers in each event advance to the state track meet. The boys meet is next week in Jefferson and the girls is May 14 to 16 in Albany.