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North Hall defends Hall County cross country titles
Cross country runners compete in the Hall County cross country championships at Chestatee Middle School Thursday afternoon.

Hall County Championships

Girls team results

1. North Hall (41 points)

2. Chestatee (41)

3. West Hall (79)

4. Gainesville (99)

5. Johnson (116)

6. East Hall (129)

Boys team results

1. North Hall (17)

2. Lakeview Academy (86)

3. Gainesville (100)

4. Chestatee (107)

5. West Hall (120)

6. Johnson (138)

7. Riverside Military (159)

Girls individual results

1. Victoria Rogers (North Hall) 20:13

2. Sara Beth English (Chestatee) 20:38

3. Tori Mullinax (Chestatee) 20:55

4. Breanna Fair (Gainesville) 20:59

5. Makayla Ellis (North Hall), 21:04

6. Taylor Long (West Hall), 21:11

7. Ryan Sharry (West Hall), 21:14

8. Sara Hayes (Gainesville) 21:46

9. Katie McDowell (North Hall) 21:56

10. Maggee Wilson (Chestatee) 22:12

Boys individual results

1. Witt Nix (North Hall) 16:34

2. Tucker LoCicero (North Hall) 16:46

3. Bryce Shuebert (North Hall) 16:59

4. Dustin Snyder (Lakeview) 17:15

5. Zack Hill (North Hall) 17:25

6. Bailey Pless (North Hall) 17:30

7. Seth Chapman (North Hall) 17:37

8. Quintin Miles (North Hall) 17:37

9. Lewis Brooks (Lakeview) 17:42

10. Brandon Nguyen (West Hall) 17:43

North Hall senior Victoria Rogers could hardly walk forward when her name was called at the Hall County Championship awards ceremony after the race Thursday in Gainesville.

She had struggled to walk in the morning, and had nearly decided not to run the race and not defend her individual title.

But Rogers ran, and she flew by the competition on the course at Chestatee Middle Academy for a second consecutive county title in a time of 20 minutes, 13 seconds and led her team to a razor-thin win over hosts Chestatee. The North Hall boys, led by Witt Nix (16:34), followed with a dominating win — finishing in seven of the top eight spots — as both squads defended their 2011 top finishes.

“I had run a mile in the last two days and I wasn’t planning on coming today, but my chiropractor said I’d be OK if I tried,” Rogers said. “I thought that if I just got out there and tried, and if I could do it it’s a glory to God.

“I could barely walk this morning. It wasn’t me, it was a miracle.”

She had been dealing with pain since Monday, when her hip started hurting while working out, and she subsequently was told by a medical doctor and a chiropractor that her hip was out of line and her back was arched.

Rogers said she didn’t feel the hip discomfort while racing due to all the other pains associated with distance running, but afterward she admitted that it wasn’t feeling to good.

She initially thought the injury would derail what had been a recent turnaround to a tough season.

“This year has not been that good, but last week I did pretty good, and I thought with this I would have to start over,” she said. “But I decided to run and not to think about it.”

She held off a pair of Chestatee runners in second place finisher Sara Beth English (20:38) and Tori Mullinax (20:55) in third. The Lady War Eagles actually tied on the first five runners, but lost on the tiebreaker — the finish of the sixth runner. North Hall’s sixth finished four spots ahead of Chestatee’s.

West Hall, led by a sixth place finish by Taylor Long, finished third.

“We’re very happy, but Chestatee ran a really good race in the girls race,” said North Hall coach Drew Rogers. “We always preach that every girls is important, because this time the sixth girls were the difference.”

It was the best ever finish at the county race for longtime hosts Chestatee, but still a bit of a disappointment for a team with high aspirations.

“We’re obviously a little disappointed,” said second-year Chestatee coach Meghann Pruett. “But to compete like that with North Hall, a powerhouse, says a lot for our girls.”

The North Hall boys certainly looked the part of a powerhouse in the boys varsity race, with Nix leading the way and teammates Tucker LoCicero (16:46) and Bryce Shuebert (16:59) finishing second and third, respectively.

Lakeview’s Dustin Snyder broke the North Hall string with a fourth place finish in a time of 17:15, leading his team to a second place finish.

“It felt really good because today we were fighting to do well in the county,” Snyder said.

Snyder, who ran ahead early but was passed by the top three Trojans just before the first mile, was followed by four more Trojans before the Lions’ second runner, Lewis Brooks, finished. The Gainesville boys finished third.

Rogers said he was pleased with the Trojans finishing in such a tight pack, something they’ve been working on more this year with a deep team.

“We have the best eight we’ve ever had at North Hall,” the Trojans’ coach said. “Even if we don’t have that one superstar.”

Nix added that, although he’s not as fast as some of the prior No. 1 Trojans runners, their No. 4 is faster, and the key now is to close the gap with the fifth runner in advance of the state meet and a likely rematch with defending Class AAA state champ St. Pius X for the top spot.

And while state is still the ultimate goal, Nix was still happy to help defend the Trojans county title, even with the Class AAAA defending state champion Flowery Branch boys team not in the mix.

“The Flowery Branch coach said that they didn’t want to be the big fish in the little pond,” Nix said. “But it still feels good to be the big fish in the little pond.”

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