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Flowery Branch boys cross country wins Region 8-AAAAA title
Falcons' Ashmead takes first place
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The Flowery Branch boys cross country team added to an already packed trophy case, bringing home its fourth straight region title by taking the Region 8-AAAAA crown on Saturday at Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers/

The Falcons’ 19-point day was well ahead of second-place Winder-Barrow (75) and third-place Apalachee (99). With the win, they qualify for the Class AAAAA state meet next Saturday in Carrollton with a chance to improve on last year’s runner-up finish.

“It was just a good meet, a good day and good weather,” Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said. “The course was tough over at the Georgia International Horse Park. Any time we advance to the state championships, I’m pretty happy.”

The Falcons had five runners finish in the top 10, led by Nick Ashmead’s first-place time of 16 minutes, 46 seconds. He finished two seconds ahead of teammate Jake Shewbert. Miguel Martinez was fourth (16:49), Brian Young was fifth (16:50) and Taylor Fiorello was seventh (17:09). James Slavik nearly gave Flowery Branch another top-10 runner with an 11th-place finish (17:35).

Gainesville also punched its ticket to state by placing fourth with 103 points.

The Red Elephants were led by Juan Ortega, who finished eighth overall with at 17:10 time. Diego Rangel was 15th at 17:59.

Flowery Branch tallied 51 points in the girls race to place third overall and quality for state. Cassie Ward finished third at 21:02, and Kiersten Baltus took ninth at 22:17.

The Lady Falcons also captured 11th and 12th place by Kayle Tanner (22:30) and Merm Crow (22:37).

Flowery Branch returns to state after finishing third overall a season ago and second in 2011.

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