Gwinnett aims to continue run at state track

Gwinnett County went more than 25 years without a boys track and field state champion.

That streak was snapped two years ago when Parkview won the Class AAAAA title. The Panthers were the first Gwinnett school to win a boys track title since Buford in 1982.

Brookwood followed Parkview with the state title last year. Now the after such a long drought without a boys state title, the county is trying to string together its third in a row at the state meet in Jefferson.

"It looks like it's going to stay in Gwinnett," Parkview coach Matt Henson said. "You've got three or four teams that could score a lot of points."

Brookwood and Parkview are once again in the mix for the team title, while Mill Creek and Peachtree Ridge are also contenders. The meet begins today in Jefferson with the field events and ends Saturday with the running finals.

The Lions feature do-it-all athlete Torri Tillman. The senior was part of five Region 7-AAAAA championships last week. His 10.59-second 100-meter run is the top time in Class AAAAA and he's second in the 200 with a time of 21.35. He also qualified for state in the long jump and on the 400 and 1,600 relay teams.

Mill Creek is powered by its field events, which led the Hawks to their first Region 7-AAAAA crown last week, in particular Tyler Cierski. The senior has the top throw in the discus in the state this year at 163 feet, 4 inches and the second-best throw in the shot put.

"Hopefully we can continue what we did at region," Mill Creek coach Rik Moore said. "We need to maximize our points in our field events."

Parkview's Jordan Funk has the top vault in the state with a mark of 14-6 and Brookwood's Justin Grose is second with a 14-1.

"We've been doing what we've done all year," Henson said. "We've got some great kids and they are determined to get in the finals and see what happens."

The one-mile and two-mile runs are a who's who of the county's top distance runners. The best times in the state are held by Gwinnett runners, including Brookwood's Jackson Wearn in the 1,600 and Peachtree Ridge's Josh Brickell in the 3,200. Brickell is the defending state champion in cross country.

The county has several other athletes in contention to win state titles this weekend. Berkmar's Justyn Shackleford, who was a state runner-up last year in Class AAA at Towers, has the top 300 hurdles time in AAAAA this season at 38.25.

Norcross' Malcolm Davis has the state's top high jump in the AAAAA with a mark of 6-8. In Class A, Wesleyan's Wes Ayres has the top pole vault with a mark of 14-3.