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Success does live here

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Photo by Michael Buckelew

By the turn of the century, Gwinnett County had begun to make its mark as one of the most successful high school sports areas in the state.

Football was on the rise, swimming and cross county championships were a yearly tradition and athletes were becoming nationally recognized.

Then the 2000s hit and Gwinnett County took off in high school sports dominance. The county won 44 team state championships during the 1990s, a number that was obliterated this decade. Gwinnett claimed 159 team state championships and 345 individual crowns over the last 10 school years, more than three times as many state championships won in the previous decade.

"That's pretty impressive," said Mike Emery, the Gwinnett County director of athletics, student activities and community schools.

Each school year the number of team and individual championships has grown. First it was 13 team titles and 22 individual in 2000-01 and it ended with 22 team and 46 individual this school year. This year's success is the second-best this decade with the 2008-09 class bringing home the most with 23 team and 51 individual crowns.

Wesleyan's girls basketball team enjoyed the most success over the last 10 school years. The Wolves won their first state title during the 2001-02 season and claimed their seventh championship this season.

"After our first state championship, I made a plaque to put on the wall. Now the wall is cluttered," Wesleyan coach Jan Azar said. "It's a great thing, but I never imagined it would be like that."

Buford football, Collins Hill's girls cross country, Greater Atlanta Christian's boys tennis and Parkview boys swimming were the second-most successful teams this decade with six state titles each.

"I think the great thing about this is over the last 10 years the success has been widespread," Emery said. "It's not the same schools winning like in the '90s with Brookwood and Parkview. Now it's widespread and we've shown success throughout the county. It's not the same schools every year."

Of the 22 GHSA high schools in Gwinnett County, 18 won a state title during the decade. Only Dacula, Meadowcreek and first-year schools Archer and Mountain View did not win titles.

North Gwinnett would have been on that list of no crowns this decade, but the Bulldogs claimed titles in girls cross country and soccer this past school year to end their drought.

One streak that also came to an end this school year was Parkview's consecutive run of state championships. For the first time since 1991-92, Parkview, which has won the most state titles in county history with 47, did not have a team state championship in any sport.

Over the decade the county has produced household names like Olympic swimmers Eric Shanteau and Amanda Weir, U.S. World Cup soccer player Josh Wolff, baseball players Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann, Connecticut women's basketball star Maya Moore, NBA player Lou Williams and Georgia football legends David Greene and Davey Pollack.

"The kids today are bigger, stronger, faster than they were 15 years ago," Brookwood athletic director Mark Kimbro said. "There's definitely more superclass athletes now than in the past."

Kimbro has witnessed Gwinnett's baseball prosperity change greatly, both as Brookwood's AD and as Central Gwinnett's longtime baseball coach.

Shiloh won the county's first baseball title in 1987 and it wasn't until Parkview in 1996 that Gwinnett won another one. Since then the county has won six state titles, including one by Wesleyan this season. That same trend is true with golf, tennis, track and field and wrestling -- sports that had little or no success in the '90s, but have claimed multiple titles this decade.

"There has always been good baseball in Gwinnett," Kimbro said. "From about the mid-80s on, it went to a different level with Gwinnett and Cobb County. It pushed every program to get better. It was either get better or be left behind."

Even the county's adapted sports program, which is two years old, has taken off. The Gwinnett Heat football team won the state championship this season.

Of the 24 boys and girls high school sports, Gwinnett County has won a state title in every one this decade expect for lacrosse, which most schools just started playing two years ago.

That will have to wait for this decade.

"Oh, absolutely," Emery said.

GWINNETT TEAM STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Gwinnett County teams have won 272 state titles in team sports over the years. The rankings are for the 20 Georgia High School Association schools in the county. Thirteen of the schools are in the Gwinnett County public school system, three are private schools (GACS, Providence, Wesleyan) and one is a city school (Buford). The only state title from a defunct school is from Bethesda High School, which is now an elementary school. The following lists the breakdown of those championships, both by sport and by school.

BOYS SPORTS (147)

n Baseball (14): Wesleyan, 2010; Wesleyan, 2009; Brookwood, 2008; Wesleyan, 2008; Parkview, 2002; Parkview, 2001; Parkview, 1996; Shiloh, 1987; Brookwood, 1986; GACS, 1982; Buford, 1977; GACS, 1975; Norcross, 1963; Duluth, 1951

n Football (14): Buford, 2009; Buford, 2008; Wesleyan, 2008; Buford, 2007; Peachtree Ridge, 2006; Buford, 2003; Buford, 2002; Parkview, 2002; Buford, 2001; Parkview, 2001; Parkview, 2000; Parkview, 1997; Brookwood, 1996; Buford, 1978

n Basketball (18): GAC, 2010; Wesleyan, 2010; Norcross, 2008; Wesleyan, 2008; Norcross, 2007; Norcross, 2006; South Gwinnett, 2004; Berkmar, 2001; Berkmar, 2000; Dacula, 1979; GACS, 1977; GACS, 1972; GACS, 1971; Central Gwinnett, 1962; Dacula, 1945; Dacula, 1938; Dacula, 1932; Grayson 1925

n Cross Country (36): Brookwood, 2009; Wesleyan, 2009; Peachtree Ridge, 2008; Collins Hill, 2007; Wesleyan, 2007; Wesleyan, 2006; Parkview, 2006; Parkview, 2005; Wesleyan, 2005; Parkview, 2004; Brookwood, 2003; Brookwood, 2002; Wesleyan, 2002; Brookwood, 2001; Wesleyan, 2001; Collins Hill, 2000; Brookwood, 1998; Brookwood, 1997; GACS, 1997; Brookwood, 1995; Brookwood, 1994; Parkview, 1993; South Gwinnett, 1992; Parkview, 1990; Brookwood, 1989; Shiloh, 1987; Parkview, 1987; Shiloh, 1986; Parkview, 1985; Parkview, 1984; GACS, 1984; GACS, 1983; GACS, 1981; GACS, 1979; GACS, 1978; GACS, 1977

n Tennis (11): GAC, 2008; GAC, 2007; GAC, 2006; GAC, 2005; GAC, 2003; GAC, 2001; Brookwood, 2000; Brookwood, 1998; Brookwood, 1997; Brookwood, 1996; Brookwood, 1991

n Golf (1): Peachtree Ridge, 2009

n Soccer (16): Collins Hill, 2010; Collins Hill, 2009; GAC, 2009; GAC, 2007; Parkview, 2005; Brookwood, 2004; Grayson, 2004; Shiloh, 2003; Brookwood, 2001; Parkview, 2001; GACS, 2000; Parkview, 1998; Parkview, 1997; Parkview, 1994; Parkview, 1993; Shiloh, 1990

n Track (6): Brookwood, 2010; Parkview, 2009; Buford, 1982, 1964; GACS, 1981; Lilburn, 1955

n Swimming (16): Brookwood, 2010; GAC, 2010; Brookwood, 2009; Brookwood, 2008; Parkview, 2007; Parkview, 2006; Collins Hill, 2005; Collins Hill, 2004; Parkview, 2003; Parkview, 2002; Parkview, 2001; Parkview, 2000; Parkview, 1998; Parkview, 1995; Shiloh, 1994; Shiloh, 1992

n Wrestling (15): Collins Hill, 2010; Collins Hill duals, 2010; Collins Hill, 2009; Collins Hill duals, 2009; Collins Hil, 2008; Collins Hill duals, 2008; Wesleyan duals, 2007; Parkview, 2006; Parkview duals, 2006; Collins Hill, 2005; Collins Hill duals, 2005; Parkview, 2004; Parkview duals, 2004; Collins Hill, 2002; Dacula, 1993

GIRLS SPORTS (125)

* Basketball (28): Buford, 2010; Norcross, 2010; Wesleyan, 2010; Buford, 2009; Wesleyan, 2009; Wesleyan, 2008; Collins Hill, 2007; GAC, 2007; Collins Hill, 2006; Wesleyan, 2006; Collins Hill, 2005; Wesleyan, 2005; Wesleyan, 2004; Parkview, 2003; Collins Hill, 2002; GACS, 2002; Wesleyan, 2002; Central Gwinnett, 2001; Collins Hill, 2001; GACS, 2001; South Gwinnett, 1995; GACS, 1983; GACS, 1982; GACS, 1975; GACS, 1974; GACS, 1972; Dacula, 1954; Bethesda, 1946

* Cross Country (18): North Gwinnett, 2009; Collins Hill, 2008; Collins Hill, 2007; Collins Hill, 2006; Collins Hill, 2005; Collins Hill, 2004; Collins Hill, 2003; Wesleyan, 2003; Wesleyan, 2002; Wesleyan, 2001; Brookwood, 1991; Brookwood, 1990; Brookwood, 1989; Parkview, 1988; Brookwood, 1985; Brookwood, 1983; GACS, 1982; GACS, 1979

* Tennis (4): Wesleyan, 2001; Brookwood, 2000; South Gwinnett, 1989; Parkview, 1980

* Softball (22): Buford, 2009; Collins Hill, 2009; Buford, 2008; Mill Creek, 2008; Buford, 2007; Collins Hill, 2005; Grayson, 2003; Grayson, 2002; Central Gwinnett, 2001; Providence, 2000; Duluth, 1999; South Gwinnett, 1997; GACS, 1996; Meadowcreek, 1993; Brookwood, 1991; GACS, 1989; North Gwinnett, 1989; North Gwinnett, 1988; GACS, 1987; GACS, 1985; North Gwinnett, 1985; GACS, 1984

* Soccer (13): North Gwinnett, 2010; Parkview, 2009; Parkview, 2008; Grayson, 2007; Parkview, 2007; Providence, 2007; Parkview, 2005; Brookwood, 2003; Parkview, 2003; Parkview, 1999; Providence, 1999; Brookwood, 1998; Parkview, 1997

* Track (13): GAC, 2009; Wesleyan, 2009; Collins Hill, 2008; Collins Hill, 2007; Collins Hill, 2006; GAC, 2005; Collins Hill, 2003; Brookwood, 1994; Brookwood, 1992; Brookwood, 1991; Brookwood, 1990; Brookwood, 1985; Brookwood, 1984

* Swimming (7): Brookwood, 2004; Brookwood, 2003; Brookwood, 2002; Brookwood, 2001; Parkview, 1998; Parkview, 1997

* Volleyball (5): Wesleyan, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

* Golf (6): Collins Hill, 2010; GAC, 2010; Mill Creek, 2009, 2008; GAC, 2007; Wesleyan, 2009

* Cheerleading (10): Mill Creek, 2009; Peachtree Ridge co-ed, 2009; Mill Creek, 2008; Peachtree Ridge, 2006; Peachtree Ridge, 2005; Duluth-coed, 2005; Duluth, 2004; Shiloh, 2002; North Gwinnett, 2000; Parkview, 1998

* Gymnastics (1): Providence, 2009

GWINNETT'S TITLES BY SCHOOL

School, Team state championships

* Berkmar 2 (Boys basketball, 2001, 2000)

* Bethesda 1 (Girls basketball, 1946)

* Brookwood 42 (Football, 1996; Baseball, 2008, 1986; Boys cross country, 2009, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1989; Boys soccer, 2004, 2001; Boys tennis, 2000, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1991; Girls cross country, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1985, 1983; Girls soccer, 2003, 1998; Boys swimming, 2010, 2009, 2008; Girls swimming, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001; Girls tennis, 2000; Girls track, 1994, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1985, 1984; Boys track, 2010; Slowpitch softball, 1991)

* Buford 15 (Baseball, 1977; Football, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1978; Boys track, 1982, 1964; Girls basketball, 2010, 2009; Softball, 2009, 2008, 2007)

* Central Gwinnett 3 (Boys basketball, 1962; Girls basketball, 2001; Softball, 2001)

* Collins Hill 33 (Boys soccer, 2010, 2009; Boys swimming, 2005, 2004; Girls cross country, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003; Boys cross country, 2007, 2000; Wrestling, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2002; Duals wrestling, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005; Girls basketball, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001; Girls track, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003; Softball, 2009, 2005; Girls golf, 2010)

* Dacula 6 (Boys basketball, 1979, 1945, 1938, 1932; Girls basketball, 1954; Wrestling, 1993)

* Duluth 4 (Cheerleading-coed, 2005; Cheerleading, 2004; Fastpitch softball, 1999; Baseball, 1951)

* GAC 43 (Baseball, 1982, 1975; Boys basketball, 2010, 1977, 1972, 1971; Boys cross country, 1997, 1984, 1983, 1981, 1979, 1978, 1977; Boys soccer, 2009, 2007, 2000; Boys swimming, 2010; Boys tennis, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2001; Boys track, 1981; Slowpitch softball, 1996, 1989, 1987, 1985, 1984; Girls basketball, 2007, 2002, 2001, 1983, 1982, 1975, 1974, 1972; Girls cross country, 1982, 1979; Girls track, 2009, 2005; Girls golf, 2010, 2007)

* Grayson 5 (Boys basketball, 1925; Boys soccer, 2004; Girls soccer, 2007; Softball, 2003, 2002)

* Lilburn 1 (Boys track, 1955)

* Meadowcreek 1 (Softball, 1993)

* Mill Creek 5 (Girls golf, 2009, 2008; Softball, 2008; Cheerleading, 2009, 2008)

* Norcross 5 (Boys basketball, 2008, 2007, 2006; Baseball, 1963, Girls basketball, 2010)

* North Gwinnett 6 (Girls soccer, 2010; Girls cross country, 2009; Cheerleading, 2000; Softball, 1989, 1988, 1985)

* Parkview 47 (Football, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1997; Baseball, 2002, 2001, 1996; Boys track, 2009; Boys cross country, 2006, 2005, 2004, 1993, 1990, 1987, 1985, 1984; Boys soccer, 2005, 2001, 1998, 1997, 1994, 1993; Boys swimming, 2007, 2006, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1995; Girls basketball, 2003; Girls cross country, 1988; Girls soccer, 2009; 2008, 2007, 2005, 2003, 1999, 1997; Girls swimming, 1998, 1997; Girls tennis, 1980; Cheerleading, 1998; Duals wrestling, 2006, 2004; Wrestling, 2006, 2004)

* Peachtree Ridge 6 (Football, 2006; Cheerleading, 2009-co-ed, 2006, 2005; Boys cross country, 2008, Boys golf, 2009)

* Providence 4 (Girls soccer, 2007, 1999; Softball, 2000; Gymnastics, 2009)

* Shiloh 8 (Baseball, 1987; Boys cross country, 1987, 1986; Boys soccer, 2003, 1990; Boys swimming, 1994, 1992; Cheerleading, 2002)

* South Gwinnett 5 (Boys basketball, 2004; Boys cross country, 1992; Fastpitch softball, 1997, Girls basketball, 1995, Girls tennis, 1989)

* Wesleyan 31 (Baseball, 2010, 2009, 2008; Boys cross country, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001; Girls cross country, 2003, 2002, 2001; Girls golf, 2009; Boys basketball, 2010, 2008; Football, 2008; Girls basketball, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002; Girls tennis, 2001; Girls track and field, 2009; Volleyball, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004; Wrestling duals, 2007)