Staff Photos: Jonathan Phillips
Peachtree Ridge's Matthew Cornwall leads the pack across the finish line in the 800-meter run at the Region 7-AAAAA meet Tuesday. Below, Collins Hill's Steven Graham clears the last hurdle in the 300-meter hurdles.
HOSCHTON -- Matt Weickert didn't meet his goal of qualifying for the boys state track and field meet, but his third-place finish helped Peachtree Ridge lock up the region title.
Weickert was third in the 3,200-meter run on Tuesday at Mill Creek High School. His finish along with teammate Josh Brickwell, who was runner-up, in the second to last event, secured the Region 7-AAAAA title for the Lions for the second straight year.
"We knew it was going to be a battle with Norcross," Weickert said. "We knew it would come down to the last few events. We definitely wanted to win it and defend our title from last year."
Peachtree Ridge finished with 147 points and Norcross was second with 116. Collins Hill (97) placed third and Mill Creek (84) was fourth.
Peachtree Ridge held a three-point lead over Norcross going into the second day of the meet. The two teams traded the top spot until the 200 when the Lions swept the event with Torri Tillman winning the region title and Khayri Gant finishing second. Peachtree Ridge also swept the 400 with Nasir Moore bringing home the crown and Gant second.
"That's what our coaches preach all the time, is competition," Gant said. "We've all been striving for this since the season started."
The Lions also got state qualifiers out of Matthew Cornwall (second in the 800) and the 1,600 relay team of Gant, Moore, Willie Udofia and Tillman, which won the event ahead of Collins Hill.
"We knew it would be a battle," first-year Lions coach Venson Elder said. "We just welcome the competition. It's big for our kids. They work their tails off and it's big for them."
Brickwell ran a time of 9 minutes, 35.06 seconds to place second in the 3,200 behind South Forsyth's Dylan Walker. Weickert was third with a time of 9:38.29.
"He's absolutely phenomenal," Weickert said of the freshman Brickwell. "He's a freak and has improved over 30 seconds this season."
After failing to qualify for state last year, Collins Hill's Steven Graham placed second in the 110 and 300 hurdles behind Chattahoochee's Dion Dupox.
"I'm relieved," Graham said. "Especially after getting third in the 300 and DQed in the 110 last year. I didn't let the pressure get to me this time and I reached my goal of getting to state. Now I just want to do my best."
Mill Creek's Devonte Lewis won the 100 and Norcross' Kendrix Huitt was second.
The 400-meter relay team from Norcross was second behind Chattahoochee.
Mill Creek's Alex Reed qualified in the 200 and 800 wheelchair events after qualifying in the shot put on Friday.