Senior Jake Shewbert became Flowery Branch’s first individual state champion, coming in first place at the Class AAAAA state cross country meet Saturday morning at Carrollton Elementary.
On a soggy course following days of rain and early morning showers, Shewbert recorded a time of 16 minutes, 49.83 seconds, helping his Falcons team to a third-place finish.
Shewbert made his final push on a downhill shortly after the two-mile mark, then held off two of his closest competitors to earn a state title in his final race.
“Everyone was so excited for me,” said Shewbert. “It’s just setting in that I had won. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to support me.”
Flowery Branch’s Shawn Olmstead (17:51.40, 17th) and Grant O’Callaghan (17:55.07) also finished in the top 50 competitors.
Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said Shewbert had run the course several times in his high school career, and had a good idea of when to make his move.
“He had a great race plan, a great strategy, and he executed it perfectly. We talked about it last night, in terms of what he should do in order to win and he did it.”
The Falcons boys team finished with an average time of 18:01.46 and 153 points.
The Flowery Branch girls cross country team (174) finished fourth at the state meet, behind Dunwoody (70 points), Creekview (113) and Union Grove (128).
Erika Plummer finished in 17th place with a time of 21:27.28 for the Lady Falcons, while Hannah Grainger finished in 21st place (21:32.56). Hailey Pierson (22:23.89, 39th) and Ashley Grant (22:29.93) also finished in the top 50 racers.
CLASS AAAA: North Hall’s Corson Teasley finished in third place at Saturday’s meet, helping the Trojans to a fourth-place finish in Carrollton.
Teasley finished with a time of 17:16.85, while Devan Crow (18:21.85, 29th), Tommy Johnston (18:24.43, 30th) and Eli Parker (18:29.06, 34th) all finished in the top 50.
Buford’s Andone Mendoza finished in 37th place, with a time of 18:32.54.
In the girls’ race, Buford’s Sarah Davis finished in 24th place, with a time of 22:22.41.
The North Hall girls had three runners in the top 50, including Mattie Bohanan (22:32.07, 27th place), Georgina Hoffman (22:56.21, 38th) and Hennebry Waters (23:25.94).
As a team, the Lady Trojans finished in seventh place with 253 points.
CLASS AAA: Jefferson’s Addison Cochran finished in ninth place at Saturday’s meet, helping the Dragons boys team to a fifth place finish in Carrollton.
Cochran finished with a time of 18:04.14, while three other Jefferson runners placed in the top 50.
The Jefferson boys team (176 points) finished ahead of sixth-place Banks County (205), 10th place Dawson County (276), 11th place West Hall (299) and 22nd place East Hall (707).
The Dawson County girls team (116 points) finished in fourth place in Class AAA, ahead of 10th place Jefferson (340), 13th place Banks County (387), and 20th place Lumpkin County (494).