The Blue Devils placed five runners in the top six Saturday, dominating the region meet at the Cobb County Corps Property to seal a region title with only 18 points.
“They all looked great,” Marietta coach Jack Coleman said. “Practice has been going well, and we’re now focusing on the state meet. We did everything we needed to do (Saturday).”
Harrison was a distant second at 50 points, followed by North Cobb (84). Kennesaw Mountain and Hillgrove tied for fourth with 109 points, but the Mustangs won a tiebreaker based on a lower combined time for their runners.
That tiebreaker proved key, as only the top four teams advanced to the Nov. 10 state championships in Carrollton.
Most of Harrison’s girls ran in a group among the front of the pack, and they clinched the girls title with 39 points.
North Cobb was in a tight race with Marietta for second and third before the Lady Warriors clamed second with 56 points, and Marietta third at 58. Hillgrove (100) was fourth.
Marietta’s emerged as the individual winner in the boys race with a time of 15 minutes, 57.11 seconds. He bested teammate Ben Pleak by a little more than 8 seconds, with Pleak at 16:08.71.
Bagwell felt strong going into the race, while Pleak was overcoming allergies. The twos paced each other for the first 2 miles of 3.1-mile the race before Bagwell used his energy to take the lead in the final mile and never looked back — until the final 400 yards of the race when he saw no one gaining.
“I looked over my shoulder, saw no one and kicked it in,” Bagwell said.
Knowing he wasn’t going to catch Bagwell, Pleak gave it all he had to stay in front of Dunlap and take second.
“If I said I ran well, I would be lying,” Pleak said. “It was disappointing that I finished over 16 for the first time this season, but it was a great team win.”
After Kennesaw Mountain’s Alex Dunlap crossed the line third in 16:08.71, another three Marietta runners followed — Jaylen Ferguson (16:15.60), Alexander Goolsby (16:15.95) and Jack Henderson (16:28.61).
couldn’t quite keep up with Marietta’s. The Hoyas’ Ben Gladstone took eighth in 16:44.04, with Adam Watt 10th in 16:48.15. Four other Harrison runners placed in the top 20.
The Harrison girls won by placing four runners in the top 10.
Elyse Bray and Emily Duvaris paced each other and took fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 19:47.80 and 19:48.66. Anna Kansol and Natalie Johnston were eighth and ninth in their respective times 20:03.35 and 20:05.18.
“They ran in a nice pack,” Harrison coach Kent Simmons said of the girls’ performance. “Natalie Johnston had a great race, and it was nice to see Emily and Elyse work together.”
North Cobb’s Tyra Holloway was the girls individual champion in 19:23.51.
Holloway said she started cramping after the second mile, but she had enough endurance left to hold off Hillgrove’s Claire Warren (19:33.95). Marietta’s Kayla Dawson was third in 19:44.94.
“I tried to ignore the cramp and pretended that there was someone right behind me,” Holloway said.