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North Hall girls, Johnson boys edge field at Hall County Cross Country Championships
Suarez sets new course record to win individual championship
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Johnson's Junior Suarez runs in the Hall County cross country championships at Chestatee Middle School on Wednesday. The Knights' runner finished first in the boys race. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Two points. Twenty-one seconds.

Eight points. Fourteen seconds.

Those are the figures that separated first place from second in Wednesday’s Hall County Championship for cross country runners.

Two points set Johnson’s boys as the county champions ahead of North Hall, who scored 38 points in the meet.

The Knights had four runners in the top 10 as Javier Gonzalez and Luis Razo stacked for eighth and ninth places. Isaac Hernandez took third.

The top runner of the meet also belonged to Johnson as Junior Suarez repeated as the boys’ individual champion, this time with a new course record of 16 minutes, 6 seconds.

Just over 21 seconds later, Corson Teasley of North Hall took the second spot. North Hall, who followed so closely in second place, also had four runners, including Teasley, in the top 10.

Also for the Trojans, Tommy Johnston took fourth, Eli Parker was sixth and Devon Crow rounded out the group in 10th.

For the girls, it was an eight-point difference in determining a team champion. In that competition, it was North Hall edging Johnson.

The Lady Trojans had all five point-scoring runners cross the finish line in the top 11. The sixth runner finished 12th and the seventh finished 14th.

Mary McGarry and Madilyn Patterson were the 10th and 11th runners, while Hennebry Waters finished seventh and Georgina Hoffman took the second place spot.

The girls’ team champion also held the girls’ individual county champion as well.

Mattie Bohanan finished the race in 21:00.6, almost 14 seconds before Hoffman crossed and nearly 24 seconds before the third-place runner, Abbie Cliche from Chestatee.

Johnson’s girls had four runners in the top 10 as Evelin Avitia, Hannah Rogers and Molly Hayes were fourth, fifth and sixth placers finishers, respectively. Johnson’s Arisbel Saucedo took the ninth spot. The final point scorer for the Lady Knights placed 15th.

Suarez said he didn’t know really how to feel after winning the event for the second straight season, but his teammates inspired him to go after it.

“My teammates told me for the last week, ‘If you want that championship in your senior year, work hard and do it,’” Suarez said. “That’s what I wanted, so I worked my butt off this week and I got it.”

The senior said he was frustrated because Teasley had beaten him in other races this season and he wanted to beat him, but “I didn’t think I’d beat him here,” he said.

Bohanan, a junior for the Lady Trojans, said, “it feels kind of weird,” being the best of Hall County.

With the Region 8-AAAA meet coming up at the end of the month for the Lady Trojans, Bohanan said this win for her — individually and as a team — is a confidence booster.

“I think it plays a good bit into confidence because you know what you’re capable of,” she said. “It inspires you to train harder, too.”

Johnson coach Courtney Dwyer said the first-place finish for the boys and second-place spot for the girls is a confidence boost for both groups going forward.

“Our boys doing well, it puts confidence in all of our runners,” Dwyer said. “The girls getting second, they needed that. It’s actually one of the first times we’ve been able to run all of our girls. it was nice to see that. We’ve had injuries and things like that, so I’m happy to see them all running together. I think they were happy tonight with their performance.”

North Hall coach Art Dacosta said his girls group has been running well the last few meets and he also predicted the win for Bohanan.

“They’ve put a lot of work in during the summer and it’s starting to show now,” Dacosta said. “I was hoping they would pull off the win. I told Mattie I thought she could win tonight and she did.”

He said the win would also give the group confidence for the upcoming meets, including the region meet, but he knows they’ll still be confidence when the region meet rolls around.

“They’re going to be nervous at region. It’s going to be a dogfight,” Dacosta said.

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