The Lady Blue Devils scored 154.5 points to capture their second straight region crown and sixth overall. McEachern (130) was second, followed by Harrison (73), Hillgrove (72), Kennesaw Mountain (63.5), North Cobb (63), Campbell (42), Pebblebrook (13) and South Cobb (10).
The Blue Devils fended off a late charge from Hillgrove, which had pulled to within five points with two events remaining. But Marietta teammates Ben Pleak and Jake Bagwell finished 1-2 in the 3,200-meter run to put some distance between the Hawks and the Blue Devils’ sixth consecutive and 15th overall region championship.
Marietta scored 133 points, with Hillgrove (111) second. Campbell (88) was third, followed by Kennesaw Mountain (79), McEachern (71), Harrison (59), Pebblebrook (40), North Cobb (25) and South Cobb (5).
“These kids really take pride in this stuff,” Marietta boys coach Nick Houstoulakis said. “This season hasn’t been easy, but the kids have been focused since Day 1 and knew exactly what they needed to do (Saturday). They came together and we qualified as many as we could to sectionals.”
The top four finishers in each event qualified for next Saturday’s Class AAAAAA sectional at Roswell.
“This is one of those seasons you’re lucky to get as a coach with a team like this,” Houstoulakis added. “I’m sure (girls) coach (Chad) Christman would agree, but we’ve never been more proud of these kids, both the girls and guys. They’ve really come together this season.”
Things also came together for Campbell’s Allan Frye, who not only won the 110 and 300 hurdles, but was also part of the Spartans’ runner-up 1,600 relay team. His 300 hurdle time of 36.54 seconds is the fastest in the nation this year among high schoolers, and it’s the fourth fastest all-time in Georgia. It’s also a new school record, complementing his 110 hurdle time of 13.81 — also a school record.
“Breaking the school record was my goal this season,” said Frye, a senior. “I tried to get it at county, but didn’t, so I’m excited to get it done (Saturday).
“I just smiled when I heard the records. I knew that kind of race was in me, but I couldn’t bring it out until (Saturday).”
There were several other two-time individual champions, including Harrison’s Elyse Bray, Hillgrove’s Demetrius Duggans, North Cobb’s Danielle Burnett and Marietta teammates Elizabeth Hartley and Tatiyana Radford
Bray, a senior, won the girls 3,200 (11:37.98) and 1600 (5:17.33).
“This is surreal,” said Bray, a first-time region champion. “A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought something like this would happen. I haven’t been able to stop smiling.
“When I run, I feel like it’s important to honor my opponents by doing the best I can in every event, and I really got to do that (Saturday).”
Duggans, a senior, won the boys 100 (10.6) and 200 (21.47).
“I like competition,” he said. “The kid in the 100 (Marietta’s KirVonte Benson) pushed me to a personal best for this season, so I thanked him for that. I won the 100 last year, but not the 200, so it feels good to get them both this time.”
Burnett captured the girls 400 (56.08) and 200 (25.03), while Hartley cleared the girls high jump in (5 feet, 4 inches) and pole vault (10-6).
Radford, a sophomore, not only won the girls long jump with a leap of 17-5½, but she took home the 100 (11.99), finished .01 seconds behind North Cobb’s Shanel Burr (14.22) in the 100 hurdles and was a member of Marietta’s third-place 400 relay team and runner-up 1,600 relay.
“When I come out here, I have to be mentally and physically tough,” Radford said. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to be out here and do what I do and help the team.
“I’m glad we were able to win another region championship. We’ve worked hard all year, and we’re hopefully on the road to a state title.”
Other girls winners included Harrison’s Josette Hardin in the discus (114-08), North Cobb’s 400 relay (48.66), Marietta’s Mary Jeanne Assinzo in the 800 (2:17.57), Hillgrove’s Chelsea Crayton in the 300 hurdles (43.91) and McEachern’s 1,600 relay (3:52.45).
Boys winners included Hillgrove’s Jaylen Reid in the shot put (51-9¾), McEachern’s Bryce Glover in the triple jump (44-4), Kennesaw Mountain’s Taylor Wood in the pole vault (14-0), Hillgrove 400 relay (41.62), McEachern’s Rajon Wright in the 400 (48.68), McEachern’s Cory Nicholls in the 800 (1:55.91) and McEachern’s 1,600 relay (3:18.53).