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Cross Country: Falcons, Spartans place 3, 4 at state
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The competition between Flowery Branch’s and West Hall’s boys cross country teams was only natural for Saturday’s state cross country meet in Carrollton. And that worked to the advantage of both programs.

The Region 7-AAA champion Falcons (132) matched a school-record with a third place finish in the boys race, and West Hall was only one spot back in fourth (219).

Daniel Martinez led Flowery Branch individually with an 11th-place finish (17 minutes, 4 seconds). David Farist finished 23rd overall for Flowery Branch (17:23), and Maurice Riden placed 33rd overall (17:39).

For the Spartans, Andy Martin placed 15th overall (17:17) and Zack Loggins placed 26th (17:31).

"I’m just very proud of our region," Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said. "It was tremendous to see both teams on the podium together representing our region.

"The key for our team is we ran well all season, and it was a great team effort."

North Hall’s pair of talented runners senior Nick Long and junior Nolan Clark also made some noise at the state meet. Long, the Hall County and Region 7-AAA champion, placed fourth individually with his highest finish at a state meet (16:20). He finished only 5 seconds off of his personal best from this season’s Coach Wood Invitational at Gainesville State College.

"I just wanted to go out and leave it all out there as a senior," Long said. "I wanted to finish in the top five and I was happy with the race I ran."

With a top 15 all classification finish, Long qualified for the Team Georgia in the Foot Locker Southeast Nationals on Nov. 24 in Charlotte, N.C.

Clark finished seventh individually (16:42).

On the girls side, North Hall placed seventh in AAA. Morgan Van Gorder placed 10th individually (20:14) and Patrice Sweet finished 14th (20:33). Jennifer Morris finished in 21:47 for the Trojans.

Flowery Branch’s girls took eighth overall. Ali Welborn placed 32nd overall to lead the Lady Falcons with a (21:11), Eileen Devico finished in 36th (21:25) and Kiara McCue-Woods finished 55th (22:12).

White County’s Sara Walcott (20:00) placed eighth in state.

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