After Anne Marie Armstrong's freshman year at Wesleyan, she set a goal to win 10 state championships.
Collins Hill's Amanda Winslow knew she wanted to be one of the top runners in the state as a freshman growing up in Ohio.
Both had high expectations for their high school athletic careers, and neither star disappointed when their sterling careers ended this spring with the Class of 2009's graduation.
They've each been a part of 10 state championships in their high school careers, ranking them among the top individual athletes to ever come through Gwinnett County.
Armstrong won three team state titles in volleyball and basketball. She won three individual state championships in the high jump in track and field and led the Wolves to their first track team title.
"After freshman year, I kind of made a goal to win 10 state championships by the time I graduated and I barely got it," Armstrong said. "It's exciting. We've had a lot of great teams in our Wesleyan athletic program. It's a good number to finish on."
Winslow moved to Georgia in the winter of 2007 and joined girls cross country and track powerhouse Collins Hill. She won two individual cross country state championships and two titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in track and field. She was also a part of two cross country and track and field team state championships.
"I can't believe where I am now and I'm happy to have gotten this far, but I still won't stop raising the bar more and more," Winslow said. "That's just who I am."
Armstrong and Winslow's careers highlighted another strong school year for Gwinnett County sports. Gwinnett teams won 23 team state titles, breaking the old record of 20 set during the 2007-08 school year. Including multiple winners, Gwinnett athletes claimed 51 individual state championships, shattering the old mark of 39 set in 2007-08.
Armstrong and Winslow are products of two of the top athletic programs in the county, as Wesleyan and Collins Hill once again led the way with the most team titles. Wesleyan, a Norcross private school, won five state championships for the second year in a row, claiming titles in football, girls basketball, girls golf, girls track and field and baseball.
Collins Hill had four titles - girls cross country, dual and traditional wrestling and boys soccer.
Armstrong and Winslow went about winning state titles in different ways. Armstrong celebrated many of her state championships in the team sports of volleyball and basketball, while Winslow claimed hers in the predominantly individual sports of cross country and track.
It begs the question, which means more - individual or team state championships?
"Definitely the team stuff because it just means more to be a part of something that is greater than yourself and to have a relationship with everyone on the team," Armstrong said. "It just means a lot more than the individual in high jump. It's more fun and more rewarding in the end when you win a team state championship than an individual."
Added Winslow: "When I first came here I would say individual because I didn't know anything about team. It meant nothing to me because I never had much of a team. I'm finally starting to grasp that whole thing. Within a team title you can excel and so can anyone else. Whereas if you're just some individual, unattached runner and you don't have a team, all the pressure is on you and there's no one else. ... I'm starting to see now how special it is to have a team title."
Neither is boastful about her high school accomplishments. They have 10 state championships, but they don't walk around with a ring on each finger. They actually don't even have 10 state championship rings.
Winslow, who will run at Florida State next season, has just one from cross country that she wears and declined to get multiple rings. Armstrong, who signed with Georgia basketball, has six rings from volleyball and basketball, but hardly wears them.
"I actually don't know where they are," she said.
With their 10 state championships, Armstrong and Winslow are tied for sixth all-time in Gwinnett County history for athletes with the most state titles.
Brookwood grad and Olympic swimmer Amanda Weir tops the list with 17, which includes individual, relay and team state titles. Parkview swimmer Mike Kauffman (15), Collins Hill runner Jackie Drouin (14), Parkview and Olympic swimmer Eric Shanteau (13) and Brookwood runner Marny Westphal (12) are also on the list.
Thousands of athletes in Gwinnett County train to win a state championship every year, but few ever get the opportunity to play for a title. Much less win just one.
It wasn't just showing up and playing a game or showing up to a race, but countless hours of training that have put Armstrong and Winslow where they are today. They may be great individual athletes, but it's their pursuit to be the best that has made them two of Gwinnett's all-time greats.
"Just because you won state last year doesn't mean (it's going to happen again)," Armstrong said. "You're going to have to work harder."
Added Winslow: "In the past four to six years there hasn't been one day where I didn't think about what my goals were and what I had to do every day to get that. Something people don't realize is how long I've been working to achieve (this)."