North Gwinnett's Courtney Czerniak (915) and Grayson's Mallory Traylor (561) lead a pack of runners early on the course at the River Green Complex, Saturday in the Cross Country County Meet.
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DULUTH -- The sport of cross county may appear to be all about each runner heading out on a course to post an individual time, but those individual scores eventually add up to a team score and a possible title.
That was the case at the 2012 Gwinnett County Cross Country Championships as both the girls and boys team champions didn't have the individual winner in each race, but a solid overall team finish and depth spelled the difference.
On the girls side, the Brookwood girls won for the third time in four years by placing four runners in the top 10 with an overall score of 34 points.
That team title came despite the fact that one of the Broncos' top runners, Quandra Shanks, started but was unable to complete the race.
Brookwood's four top-10 finishes came on a second-place finish from Ashley Buda (19.06), fourth-place finish from Payton Wilson (19:33), fifth-place finish from Holly Gunder (19:34) and 10th-place finish from Elyse Renshaw (19:55) to take home the championship.
Laurel Sumner completed the team scoring for Brookwood with a solid 13th-place finish with a time of 19:57.
"Our girls ran well today and to finish first without our No. 1 runner finishing, that's pretty special," said Brookwood head coach Chris Carter. "Quandra tried to tough it out, but couldn't. So it's pretty awesome to have the rest of our team step it up. We got some great finishes throughout and this meet is always like the first benchmark for the season, so it means a lot."
Peachtree Ridge placed second with 72 points, followed by Mill Creek in third (107), Wesleyan fourth (148), North Gwinnett fifth (160), Archer sixth (186), Norcross seventh (192), Parkview eighth (209), Collins Hill ninth (219), Grayson 10th (237), Mountain View 11th (267), Providence Christian 12th (316), Hebron Christian 13th (394), Duluth 14th (413), Lanier 15th (422), Dacula 16th (429), Central Gwinnett 17th (472), South Gwinnett 18th (507), Berkmar 19th (574) and Meadowcreek 20th (639).
Senior Katherine Yost of Norcross ran away with the girls' individual crown with a personal-record time of 18:29, finishing 37 seconds ahead of Buda to win her first County championship.
"I really don't have a plan or strategy when I race," said Yost. "I would like it if someone would stay with me, because it makes me go faster. Quite honestly, I would take a team title over an individual title even though I got a (personal record) today by four seconds. But County is one of our big meets of the year and I am happy with my finish."
On the boys side, Mill Creek also put four runners in the top 10 and captured the team title for the first time ever with 59 points.
Eric Westog led the way for the Hawks' four top-10 finishes with a fourth-place finish (15:53), followed by Matt Tippins in seventh (16:17), Sven Hope in ninth (16:23) and Tyler Woodrome in 10th (16:24).
Jonathan Westog's 29th-place finish (17:05) closed out the scoring for Mill Creek.
"That was our goal today to get four in the top 10," said Mill Creek head coach Andy Christie. "We thought a perfect day was to get that, but we didn't know if it was possible with the competition so strong at this meet. We ran a tough last mile and that made the difference. Hope and Woodrome moved up a ton at the end. Then Jonathan Westog lost a shoe in the first mile. So we battled and came through to make up a lot of ground."
Norcross came in second-place with 71 points with four-time defending champion Brookwood placing third with 89 points.
Peachtree Ridge placed fourth (111), followed by Collins Hill fifth (123), Parkview sixth (142), North Gwinnett seventh (187), Archer eighth (252), Dacula ninth (296), Grayson 10th (305), Shiloh 11th (308), Wesleyan 12th (322), Mountain View 13th (387), Duluth 14th (417), Hebron 15th (450), Berkmar 16th (460), Lanier 17th (484), Providence Christian 18th (506), Central Gwinnett 19th (532), Meadowcreek 20th (629) and South Gwinnett 21st (677).
Individually, Josh Brickell of Peachtree Ridge repeated as boys individual champion with a time of 15:43, six seconds ahead of Arman Rehmann of Norcross.
"It's nice to win this race in my senior season," said Brickell. "It's always good to come out and perform well at County. It's pretty much the first big championship of the season and you want to make a good showing and show everyone what Gwinnett County is all about. I wasn't really worried the time today and I was just trying to have a good showing for our team."