Staff Photo: John Bohn Peachtree Ridge's Paige Tucker recovers after winning the girls 800 M race during the Region 7-AAAAA Track and Field Championship running finals held Friday at Mill Creek High School.
HOSCHTON -- Lauren Kelly had a narrow win in the 1,600-meter run on Thursday.
The Peachtree Ridge runner held off rival/friend Katherine Yost by less than a second to win the region title.
"She makes me so nervous," Peachtree Ridge coach Ron Clanton said.
Kelly made sure it wasn't as close of a race on Friday at the Region 7-AAAAA championship. She set a new personal record with a time of 11 minutes, 10.72 seconds in the 3,200, beating Yost by 13 seconds.
"We're great competitors," Kelly said of her relationship with Yost. "We talked strategy before the race and said lets go PR."
The win secured the region title for the Lions for the second year in a row and third in four years. Peachtree Ridge scored 144 points to hold off Norcross and Mill Creek, who tied for second with 128 points. The top four individual finishers advance to the state sectional next weekend at Tift County.
"It's never easy," Clanton said. "Just like in county, we came in behind in the field events. Our qualifying was first or second and we had to equal that."
The Norcross boys held a 10.5-point lead over Mill Creek going into Friday's running finals. The Hawks won five of the nine events on Friday to pull away and win their second straight region title. Mill Creek scored 158 points to beat Norcross (126.5) and Collins Hill (93.5).
"I wanted to get out early," Mill Creek coach Rik Moore said. "The four-by-one won that first race and that set the tone and got the kids pumped up."
The Hawks won the 400 relay and then went one-two in the 400-meter run to take the lead in the meet.
Zac Davis won the 400 with a time of 49.07 seconds, while Michael Cheeks was second. Davis took second in the 200.
"They both scored very high for us," Moore said.
Jordan Marshall followed by winning the 100 and 200 for Mill Creek and the 1,600 relay sealed the day by taking the region title.
"He's a great kid," Moore said. "He's fairly new to track, but he's come on extremely well."
Norcross' Dennis Gillespie won the 110 hurdles and Collins Hill's Sam Davies took the 300 hurdles. North Gwinnett's Andres Littig claimed the 800 title. Defending state champion Josh Brickell won the 3,200 a day after winning the 1,600 region crown.
The Mill Creek girls held a slim six-point lead over Norcross going into the running finals. The Hawks got a boost from Malayshia George in the 400 by upsetting county champion Sonikqua Walters from Peachtree Ridge.
"We were surprised by her," Peachtree Ridge's Autumnn Burnett said. "She shocked us. We had never heard of her before."
George also won the 200, was member of the region champion 1,600 relay and claimed the region crown in the high jump on Thursday.
"I wasn't expecting this," said George, who moved from Minnesota over the summer. "Especially not in the 400 because (Walters) is really good. She's my biggest competition and I'm hers."Burnett, the defending county champion in the hurdles, won the 100 and 300 hurdles.
"I felt a little tight and usually I don't run well when I feel that way, but I just PRed," Burnett said.
Peachtree Ridge was in third place by two points after Burnett won the 100 hurdles. Paige Tucker and Walters followed by going one-two in the 800 and the Lions never trailed again.
"I think the clincher was the 800," Clanton said.
With Kelly, Burnett and Walters, the trio give Peachtree Ridge a nice chance to do some damage at the state sectional next weekend.
"It's a great three seniors," Clanton said. "I really think our team balance paid off."