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Wesleyan sweeps team region crowns

NORCROSS -- A lot can be said for going out on top.

For Wesleyan senior Bradley Gossett, that goal is one step closer after winning the Region 5-A cross country meet. Winning one final time on his home course. That finish, coupled with placing six runners in the top 10 allowed the Wolves to take home their 11th-straight region title, setting them up for a run at back-to-back-to-back state championships.

"It was an unbelievable day for our guys," said Wesleyan head coach Chad McDaniel. "They set their goals and achieved them."

Gossett took home the win with a time of 16:37, easily outdistancing the second place runner by 12 seconds.

"I'm happy that I ended up on top," Gossett said. "It's a little emotional being that it's my last race here, but a lot of good memories."

The Wolves also placed five more runners in the top 10, with each coming in right after the other.

Takim Williams (17:26) finished sixth, while Drew Sutton (17:29), Timothy Marsh (17:30), Doug Mohme (17:31) and Austin Schanen (17:31) rounded out the top 10.

Providence's Jonathan Duffie (17:33) finished 11th, and James Watkins (17:55) was 16th. Those finishes helped propel the Stars to a fourth-place team finish, qualifying them for the state meet next week in Carrollton.

For the Stars, it came down to No. 5 runner Austin Gilbert, who finished 36th. That finish was three places better than fifth-place Holy Innocents' No. 5 runner, pushing them to state.

"That No. 5 runner is so important, especially in the state meet" McDaniel said. "It can be the difference between a state championship and second place."

The Wesleyan girls won the team title as well, scoring 38 points, besting county rival Providence (64).

"Depth is what did it for us," McDaniel said. "When you can place all seven of your runners ahead of the No. 4 runner on the second-place team, you're going to be successful."

However, it was Providence's Tayler Tuttle (19:38) taking home the individual title as she outkicked Wesleyan's Caroline Reed (19:41) for the three second win.

"I knew she was behind me the entire race," Tuttle said. "I just wanted to keep her right where she was and not let her pass me."

Providence also got strong finishes from Ellie Thomas (21:07) and Evangeline Crist (21:08) in sixth and seventh places, respectively, while Wesleyan's Taylor Panther (20:49) was fifth and Jordan Zimmerman (21:26) was eighth.