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STATE CROSS COUNTRY NOTES: Lions' Brickell defends title

Staff Photo: John Bohn Peachtree Ridge cross country runner Josh Brickell nears the finish line to finish first individually in the class AAAAA race of the Georgia state championship cross country meet held Saturday in Carrollton. 

Staff Photo: John Bohn Peachtree Ridge cross country runner Josh Brickell nears the finish line to finish first individually in the class AAAAA race of the Georgia state championship cross country meet held Saturday in Carrollton. 

CARROLLTON -- Josh Brickell is on a path to become one of Georgia's all-time great runners.

The Peachtree Ridge junior took another step Saturday at the state cross country meet.

Brickell repeated as the Class AAAAA state champion with a time of 15 minutes, 40 seconds.

The two cross country state titles join Brickell's two state crowns in track in the mile and two mile.

"He knew today was going to be a big day," Peachtree Ridge coach Ron Clanton said. "He wanted to create some momentum going into Footlocker regionals. This was a big win for him."

It's the sixth race won by Brickell this season, who claimed titles at the UGA Invitational, Gwinnett County championship, Flrunners.com Invitational, Coach Wood Invitational and Region 7-AAAAA championship.

"I can't say enough good things about him," Clanton said.

Brickell's biggest challenger this season has been Brookwood's Morgan Malanoski. The senior kept it close for the first two miles of Saturday's race before Brickell pulled away for the 19-second victory.

"It feels pretty good winning again," Brickell said. "Morgan really pushed me for two miles. I was a little nervous, but I made one last surge."

Brickell's championship time this year was three seconds faster than last year.

Broncos building a trophy tradition

Brookwood's girls went for years without a trophy at the cross country state meet. After Saturday's third-place finish, it marked the fourth year the Broncos have brought home some hardware.

"We're building a nice tradition," Broncos coach Chris Carter said.

Brookwood had a gradual climb up the podium, taking fourth in 2008, third in 2009 and second last year. The Broncos hoped this would be the year they would win it all, but Walton repeated as state champs and Harrison beat the Broncos by 11 points for second place.

"Third at state is kind of disappointing," Carter said. "It kind of says something about the level of the program when you stay that. But the girls did well and third is what they got."

The Broncos were led by Caroline Kissel, who took fifth with a time of 19 minutes, 16 seconds. Kissel became the first Bronco to place in the top 10 since Carly Egan in 2006.

"At the halfway point she was 15th," Carter said. "She's tough. That track speed she has really helped. To go from 12 or 15 to fifth in the last 1,000 meters is really impressive. She really showed a lot of guts."

GAC battles for top 10

Greater Atlanta Christian qualified for the state meet from the toughest region in Class AA. That was evident at Saturday's meet. All four teams from Region 6-AA were in the top five in the boys race and top six in the girls. Westminster won the boys and girls state championships.

GAC's boys took fifth behind Chris Woodward's sixth-place finish overall and a time of 17:04. The girls team was sixth after a seventh-place finish by Kelsey Fervier, a soccer player who came out for cross country her senior year.

"At the beginning of the season, I wouldn't have guessed this team to be this high," GAC coach Brad Kinser said. "I felt like we really came together as a team. It was really a pleasing and gratifying end of the year."