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Lions' Brickell rolls to title in 3,200

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

JEFFERSON — Josh Brickell led a dominating performance of Gwinnett County runners in the two-mile championship.

Brickell, a Peachtree Ridge sophomore, won the 3,200-meter run at the boys state track and field meet at Memorial Stadium on Friday with a personal best time of 9 minutes, 16.88 seconds. Brickell overcame the pack’s slow start, and took over the lead on lap four, then cruised for a five-second victory.

“I’m definitely a better longer distance runner,” said Brickell, who also won the cross country state championship and the mile Thursday. “So it was real rewarding to know that all of the work I put in this spring helped me win all three.”

Mill Creek’s Austin Boetje finished second at 9:21.94, Parkview’s Steven Spevacek was third at 9:27.01 and Brookwood’s Michael Giuliano was fourth with a time of 9:31.38.

Brickell, who had the fastest qualifying time at 9:26.60, lowered his personal best by nearly seven seconds, and his state time was nearly 10 seconds faster than when he won the Region 7-AAAAA meet.

Boetje emerged from the pack on the second lap and held the lead for nearly two laps of the eight-lap race before Brickell closed in. Boetje said he knew Brickell had a strong surge, but the sophomore still overtook the senior.

“That second mile, I had planned to make a surge, and start my kick early,” Brickell said. “Some of the guys will kick me down if we’re that close, so I have to build a lead up on them in the second mile.”

Both Boetje and Brickell noted the slow start, and that’s when Boetje said he had to take the lead.

“I tried to stick on him the best I could, and go with his surges,” said Boetje, who also set a personal best by five seconds.

The win was an improvement for Brickell from last year’s fifth-place finish in 9:38.07.

“It’s gratifying to get such a big improvement,” he said. “Just got to keep working and hopefully keep that improvement up.”

Brickell said being a three-time state champion is now a goal, to help represent his school and teammates.

“It glorifies me, them, and of course, the Lord,” he said. “My strength isn’t anything without him.”