Staff Photo: John Bohn Brookwood's Kisean Smith knells on the track after finishing second place in the Class AAAAA 800 meter run in the state championship boys track meet held in Jefferson on Saturday. Brookwood won the team Class AAAAA championship.
JEFFERSON -- When Kisean Smith collapsed as he crossed the finish line after his 800 meter run, it took the senior a few minutes to rise back up.
Smith had just kicked his way from the middle of the pack to a runner-up finish in the race, eight points for Brookwood and the last points the Broncos would score Saturday.
The eight were enough.
Smith's final points propelled Brookwood to a Class AAAAA team state championship at the boys track and field meet on Saturday, redemption for the blame Smith took for the Broncos' 1,600 meter relay team missing the championships by mere tenths of seconds.
"I felt like that was my fault," Smith said.
Smith runs the anchor leg and was sixth in the race when he took the baton. He climbed up to fourth before getting aggressive on the final turn, going outside to pass.
"I just died and we finished fifth and all we needed was fourth," Smith said.
But the effort in the 800 overcame.
"That was the big one," said Brookwood coach Mark Kelley. "He ran a great race, a great race."
In his final race before hopefully continuing his track career at Georgia, Smith's late kick drew loud cries from the crowd as he narrowly missed a championship, finishing in 1:52.12, just 0.06 seconds behind winner Adel Yoonis of Wheeler. The time was still a personal best for Smith.
"I was tired," Smith said. "The whole race I was like, 'Last race, it's now or never.' I just had to go for it."
The assembled Broncos team still had to wait out the rest of the meeting, watching the final races and hoping to hold on. They were up eight points on Luella entering the final 1,600 relay and Luella was the only team within striking distance running in the day's final event. A first or second by Luella would have given Luella a share or the outright state championship and down the final stretch, Luella was in first.
A late kick by McEarchern put Luella in second in the last 50 meters and then the final Luella runner dropped the baton and collided with the runner from Bradwell Institute, disqualifying the two teams from the race and allowing Brookwood to hang on.
"I was nervous," said Jay Lawson, the Broncos 110-meter hurdler.
Lawson and Smith were the only Broncos to participate in Saturday's events. Lawson finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles.
"We are a distance school, as you know," Smith said.
"The field events carried us," Lawson added.
In the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, Brookwood had four runners place. Morgan Malanoski finished sixth and third, respectively and Matt Barudin finished fifth in the 3,200 and Matthew McClintock finished eighth in the 1,600.
No Brookwood individual won a state championship.
"Every point mattered," Kelley said. "It was a very, very team effort."
Mill Creek finished tied for third, Peachtree Ridge was seventh and Dacula 10th in Class AAAAA, GAC took 10th in Class AA and Wesleyan's boys finished third in Class A.
When the final results of the 1,600 relay were announced, Brookwood's celebration began around the field and stadium in Jefferson with players hugging and high fiving.
"I was so excited," Lawson said. "I was jumping around up in the stands."
This is Brookwood's second boys track title in the past three years and the first for Kelley as head coach.
"It amazing," he said. "It takes a lot of things coming together."