Staff Photo: John Bohn Shiloh runner Bryan Kamau (1050) battles Parkview's Nic Shofer near the finish line of the Region 8-AAAAAA men's cross country meet held at River Green in Duluth Saturday. Kamau finished in first place with Shofer finishing in second place.
DULUTH -- The two races at the Region 8-AAAAAA Cross Country Championships at River Green Park on Saturday yielded dramatically different results.
The boys race was highly competitive, especially the individual race, which came down to the last 100 yards before Shiloh's Bryan Kamau darted past Parkview's Nick Schofer for his first region championship.
In the team competition, Brookwood's consistency prevailed, with the Broncos placing three runners in the individual top 10 to hold off rival Parkview for their second straight region crown.
By contrast, the girls race was dominated by Brookwood.
The Broncos took the top six places and had seven in the top 10, including QuanDra Shanks, who cruised to the individual championship, to take their fifth straight region title.
"They had a good day," Brookwood girls coach Chris Carter understated of his team. "I'm lucky I've got a good bunch of kids. I'm blessed.
"We tried not to go crazy. We had kind of a conservative race plan. Then, with about a mile and a quarter left, I cut them loose."
That included Shanks, who didn't quite match the personal record time she set at last week's Coach Wood Invitational, but broke away to cruise to the individual title with an unofficial time of 18:53, some 16 seconds better than Brookwood teammate and runner-up Ashley Buda's mark of 19:09.
"It was about three or four seconds off my PR from last week," Shanks said. "I've just got to push myself more (next week at the Class AAAAAA state meet) and go for it. (Saturday's result) tells me where I am right now. This is a flat course, and I still (went) under 19 (minutes). Hopefully, I can go under 19 at state, too."
Shanks and Buda had plenty of company from their Bronco teammates, with Payton Wilson (19:23), Holly Gunder (19:34), Elyse Renshaw (19:53) and Laurel Sumner (20:00) immediately following the initial pair across the finish line, while Claire Cashin (20:38) took 10th place.
That gave Brookwood a team score of 15, easily running away from the pack, including runner-up Parkview (77), which got a seventh-place finish from Julie Wang (20:10) to post 77 points.
Just two points back of the Panthers in third place was Archer (79), which was paced by eighth-place finisher Taylor Dove (20:23), while Grayson's took fourth with 94 points, led by ninth-place finisher Mallory Traylor (20:30). Central Gwinnett rounded out the top five in the team race with 137 points.
The boys race was considerably closer, particularly the duel between Kamau and Schofer, before the Shiloh junior broke away in the final 100 yards to take the title with a time of 16:14, just one second ahead of his Parkview rival.
"Every time he kept surging, I just tried to keep up with him," Kamau said of Schofer. "We're good friends, and we promised to stay together (until the end). In the last 100 yards, something came over me. I don't know what it was, but he did an amazing job, too."
And unlike last year, when Kamau represented Shiloh alone, he will have some company at next week's state meet, with Generals teammate Nahom Solomon, who took fifth place with a time of 16:53.71.
But it was Brookwood -- which was led by Ryan Massey (16:31.04) and Josh Ingalls (16:46.46), who finished third and fourth respectively -- that claimed the team title with a score of 35 points, 18 points ahead of runner-up Parkview, which also placed Alec Harp (sixth, 16:54.50) Alex Sullivan (eighth, 17:08.64) in the top 10.
It was the second straight title for the Broncos, whose coach, Ben Dehnke, liked what he saw from his team given the conditions of the day.
"The region meet is really like the first round of the playoffs to get to the state playoffs," Dehnke said. "We wanted to make sure we qualified. It was certainly our goal to win, and we got a good challenge from Parkview.
"It was pretty warm out there (Saturday). I think that slowed the course down, and I think most of the guys would probably agree with that. ... But we qualified for next week, and the guys are excited about competing at the state meet."
Parkview also qualified for the state meet as a team with its runner-up finish along with third-place Archer in (83 points) and fourth-place Grayson (110), which was led by Parker Davis (ninth, 17:18.88).
Dacula rounded out the top five in the team standings with 128 points.