Broncos seek fifth-straight county title

Ben Dehnke has only seen his Brookwood boys cross country team run one regular season race this year. But the Broncos' head coach likes his team's chances going into the county meet this Saturday.

"If things go right, I think we can win," Dehnke said.

Brookwood is the three-time defending state champion and has won the county meet the last four years. It will try to become the first boys team to win five titles in a row since Parkview won 12 from 1976-87.

The Broncos had a senior-laden team a year ago and put five runners in the top 10.

Brookwood doesn't have quite the experience as last year's team, but is strong one through seven in its lineup.

"I think depth-wise, that's kind of our strength this year," Dehnke said. "That's going to be a key for us all year."

Brookwood is coming off a win at the Carrollton Invitational last week. The Broncos had just one runner finish in the top 10, but placed six other runners in the top 30.

"It was a good collective effort," Dehnke said.

The Broncos' depth will be tested again at the River Green Course in Duluth. Mill Creek, Norcross, Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill will challenge the Broncos for the title.

"It seems like it's going to be a four-or five-team race. It's going to be really tight," Dehnke said.

Mill Creek is ranked No. 1 in the state, Norcross placed third at the Carrollton Invitational and Peachtree Ridge has won two races this year.

"Last year we got fourth and we're trying to improve on that," Norcross coach John Williams said.

In the individual race, it's Peachtree Ridge's Josh Brickell's race to lose. Brickell is the two-time defending state champion and was a Foot Locker national qualifier last season.

"The next pack behind him will be interesting, I think," Dehnke said.

Mill Creek's Eric Westog, Norcross' Arman Rehmann and Brookwood's Matthew McClintock have emerged as the top challengers for Brickell.

In the girls race, Norcross' Katherine Yost is the favorite. The senior has finished second the last two years at county and has one of the state's top times this season.

Brookwood is the defending county champion on the girls side, but will be challenged by Peachtree Ridge. The Lions are ranked No. 1 in the state and finished second last season. Peachtree Ridge has never won a county title.