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Broncos lean on Kissel for region cross country meet

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips. Brookwood's Caroline Kissel leads the pack in second place behind Alpharetta's Dylan Hassett in the Class AAAAA 3,200-meter run during the track and field state championships in Albany on Thursday.

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips. Brookwood's Caroline Kissel leads the pack in second place behind Alpharetta's Dylan Hassett in the Class AAAAA 3,200-meter run during the track and field state championships in Albany on Thursday.

Caroline Kissel is the only senior on the Brookwood girls cross country team's starting lineup.

Kissel has been on the varsity team since she was a freshman and has helped the Broncos to the last three Region 8-AAAAA championships.

She won the individual title last year and is the favorite to repeat as the Broncos go for their fourth-straight region crown on Saturday at the River Green Complex in Duluth.

"She's been in our top seven ever since she was a freshman," Brookwood coach Chris Carter said. "She's got a lot of good experience. She's been a stud since day one."

Kissel is coming off a fifth-place finish at the Coach Wood Invitational two weeks ago where she helped the team to a third-place finish.

Parkview is Brookwood's biggest challenge for the region crown and the Broncos easily defeated them at Coach Wood.

"They should give us a run (for the title)," Carter said. "In a small meet, it's a little different."

Along with Kissel, the Broncos are led by Quandra Shanks and Payton Wilson. Elyse Renshaw, Laurel Sumner, Claire Cashin and Ashley Buda round out the starting lineup that also won Gwinnett County championship.

"We've got a pretty deep team," Carter said. "Region is a good kind of run through. It's kind of the last chance to try some strategy before state."

Brookwood's boys team is the heavy favorite to win region title after losing to Parkview last year. The Broncos are coming off a dominating win a Coach Wood two weeks ago.

In the Region 7-AAAAA meet, Peachtree Ridge's Josh Brickell and Collins Hill's Chloe Whitworth are defending state champions and are the favorites to capture the individual region crowns.

It's a different story with the team races. Peachtree Ridge's boys are the defending region champs, but they were beat by Mill Creek and Norcross two weeks ago at Coach Wood. That leaves Collins Hill and North Gwinnett fighting it out for the final spot to the state meet in Carrollton.

It's a similar scenario in the girls race. North Gwinnett is the defending region champs, but Peachtree Ridge appears to be the favorite if they have a healthy Lauren Kelly.

That leaves Collins Hill, Norcross and Mill Creek fighting for the final two spots.

The top four teams in each region advance to the state meet in Carrollton on Nov. 5.