Staff Photo: John Bohn Brookwood cross country runner Matthew McClintock nears the finish line for a fifth place individual finish in the class AAAAA race in the Georgia state championship cross country meet held Saturday in Carrollton. McClintock was the third Brookwood runner to finish in the top five, helping Brookwood to win the class AAAAA team championship title.
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CARROLLTON -- Brookwood's boys cross country team had two near disasters in the first few hundred meters of Saturday's state cross country meet.
Drew Vander Wood's shoe fell off and Kevin Marsh had to stop after a pile up at the first turn.
Those little hiccups still couldn't derail the Broncos. No. 1 Brookwood won its third-straight Class AAAAA state championship and the 11th in the program's history.
"It never gets old," Brookwood coach Ben Dehnke said with a big smile on his face.
Not only did the Broncos repeat as champs, but they did so in convincing fashion. Brookwood scored 32 points to tie the state meet record held by the Broncos' 2009 team.
"Going into the meet, we weren't thinking about setting any records," Dehnke said. "Winning was our priority."
Brookwood was well ahead of state runner-up Mill Creek, which scored 142 points, and third-place Norcross (151 points). Peachtree Ridge (204) was fifth, Collins Hill (208) was seventh and Parkview (303) took 10th.
The runner-up finish was the first trophy for Mill Creek in its eight-year history.
"We've been talking about this all year, so to finally get to the podium, we will cherish this always," Mill Creek coach Andy Christie said.
Norcross qualified for the state meet for the first time in 25 years. The Blue Devils capped an impressive year, which included fourth at county and second at region, with a third-place trophy.
"This is an awesome accomplishment for our program," Norcross head coach John Williams said. "I thought we could be in the top three. Brookwood is a super team. Us and Mill Creek have been going at it all year."
Brookwood had four runners finish in the top 10 and all seven were in the top 30.
Peachtree Ridge's Josh Brickell won the individual title for the second year, but Brookwood's Morgan Malanoski wasn't far behind with a runner-up finish. The senior, who also took second to Brickell at county, had a time of 15 minutes, 59 seconds.
"Josh is a great runner and he had some great moves," Malanoski said. "I couldn't stay with it."
Broncos' Gabe Gomez was third (16:05), Matthew McClintock was fifth (16:13), and Matt Barudin (16:20) was 10th.
"They really performed well," Dehnke said. "Barudin had his best race of the year."
Marsh battled back to take 14th (16:29), Vander Wood was 18th (16:37) and Austin Veith finished 26th (16:45).
Brookwood's state title completes an impressive season in which it won the Berry Invitational, Gwinnett County meet, Coach Wood Invitational, Region 8-AAAAA championship and took third at the Great American Cross Country Festival in North Carolina.
"They have an incredible team," Christie said. "They are the standard for everyone to go after."
The top 10 in the boys race looked a lot like the county meet. Eight of the top 10 finishers were from Gwinnett. Shiloh's Brian Kamau was sixth (16:13), Mill Creek's Eric Westog was eighth (16:17) and Mitch Flammang was ninth (16:18).