Norcross Katherine Yost (1271) leads the start of the girls high school Cross Country Championships during the 10th Annual Coach Wood Invitational at Gainesville College in Oakwood on Saturday.
OAKWOOD -- Walton's girls and Marietta's boys didn't have the top individual winners in their respective 5K races at the 10th annual Coach Wood Cross Country Invitational, but they were solid enough down through the ranks to claim the team titles.
Run on the campus of Gainesville State College, Class AAAAAA's No. 1 ranked Walton girls got a fourth-place finish from Alexa Womack with a time of 18:39.24 and then placed four runners in the top 24 to win the title with 72 points.
Brookwood, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA, finished second with 85 points as QuanDra Shanks finished sixth with a time of 18:42.77, a personal record for the senior.
"I'm pleased with my run, but I could have pushed it a little more at the end," said Shanks. "But I'm happy because it was a PR (personal record) for me by a lot. As a team, we worked hard and did a good job. Now there will be region and state, so this was a good step for us today."
Brookwood also got a top-10 finish from Ashley Buda with a time of 19:03.21, which was good enough for ninth place.
Rounding out the scoring for Brookwood were Payton Wilson 16th (19:35.47), Elyse Renshaw 30th (19:46.20) and Holly Gunder 32nd (19:47.53) in the field of 246 runners.
"We didn't get out well at the start and that put us behind 800 meters into the race," said Brookwood head coach Chris Carter. "It's so narrow after the start and we just got too far back in a big field like this. After that start, we had some good runs. But this is good preparation heading into region and then Carrollton (at state)."
Other team finishes by Gwinnett County schools included host Mill Creek in 10th, Norcross 15th, Parkview 19th, Grayson 20th and Mountain View 21st.
Katherine Yost of Norcross finished 10th overall with a time of 19:14.31.
On the boys' side, Class AAAAAA's No. 6 ranked Marietta boys were led by a ninth-place finish from Ben Pleak (15:58.96) and a 10th-place finish from Jake Bagwell (16:00.83).
Marietta also put its final three scorers in the top 42 to win the team title.
Host Mill Creek, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAA, came in second with 141 points as Eric Westog paced the Hawks with an eighth-place overall finish at 15:58.25.
Matt Tippins finished 17th overall (16:14.07), followed by Sven Hope in 23rd (16:22.06), Tyler Woodrome 36th (16:35.96) and Jonathan Westog 67th (17:01.25) in the field of 263 runners.
"Overall, I'm pleased but obviously I'm not thrilled about losing to Marietta by 30 points," said Mill Creek head coach Andy Christie. "Marietta ran a great race and we some good runs, too. But we have some room to improve. Hopefully, we'll have a different outcome three weeks from now (at state in Carrollton)."
Norcross, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA, was a close third with 142, led by Arman Rehmann's fourth-place finish with a time of 15:51.19.
"I felt pretty good even on a cold morning," said Rehmann. "But I think we did well as a team. It was a tight start at the beginning and with the level of competition at this meet, you have to get out in front of the pack to have a chance for a good finish. And I improved by almost a minute from last year, so I'm happy with that."
Sam Todd came in 19th overall (16:15.47) and he was joined by teammates Jacob Winters in 33rd (16:34.41), Nick Delguercio 34th (16.34.56) and Matthew Sutton 61st (16:55.59).
Rounding out the team scoring for Gwinnett County schools included Brookwood in fifth, Collins Hill 10th, Parkview 14th, North Gwinnett 15th, Grayson 23rd and Mountain View 28th.
Brookwood is ranked No. 3 in Class AAAAAA while Parkview is ranked No. 8.
Nick Schofer of Parkview claimed a seventh-place finish overall with a clocking of 15:57.45.
Also, Coach Rick Wood, for whom the meet is named, was honored during a ceremony when he received a championship ring from the 1992 state title team he coached at South Gwinnett.
Former runners from the 1992 team pitched in to get a ring for Coach Wood since he did not receive one 20 years ago.
The day also featured an appearance by Shannon Rowbury, a two-time Olympian in the 1,500 meters.