JEFFERSON - As Cody Barger was headed down the home stretch, he heard a voice in the stands congratulate him on a strong finish to his senior season.
He was well on his way to a state championship in the 3,200-meter run, which combined with Thursday's first-place finish in the 1,600 and a championship in the Class AAA cross country meet in the fall gave him three state titles this year.
Still, Barger left the track Friday feeling like he could have done better.
"Someone yelled good season and I couldn't sprint anymore after that," said Barger, who finished with a time of nine minutes, 7.12 seconds, which is .12 seconds off the Class AAA state record set in 1976.
"I'm kind of sad because I slowed down at the end," said Barger, whose first-place finish gave North Hall 22 points and fourth place after Day 2.
Barger got off to a slow start Friday, running with the middle of the field of 16 for the first lap that he finished in fifth place.
He moved up two spots after rounding the first turn, and by the time he was midway through his second lap, he found himself in second place.
Running from behind didn't last much longer after that, as Barger took the lead for good shortly after beginning his third of eight laps.
"My only regret was the first couple of laps," Barger said.
With his eyes on a new state record, Barger slowly increased his lead over the next three laps, building a 3-second lead as the bell rang to signal the final lap.
Barger was around the 8-minute mark when the eighth lap began, and although he knew he had the state title locked up, he was aware that his pace needed to increase if he were to achieve a new record.
He came close, and although there was some disappointment in his voice, he wasn't about to let .12 seconds ruin his third state title.
In fact, he was still dwelling on Thursday's win in the mile.
"It would be a little better if I was a half-second faster in the mile," Barger said. "I felt sick coming in, but the race cured that."
After completing a race in near-record time, Barger planned on slowing down the pace a little and head out to the lake with former North Hall teammate Ty McCormack.
"I'm going fishing," he said. "I'm going to try and catch a 9-pound bass."
West Hall's Josh Pendley finished the event in 10th place with a time of 9:57.38. In Class AAAA, Flowery Branch High's Kenny Slavik finished ninth with a time of 9:58.82.
Drew Garland finished 12th for the Falcons.
Although those four were the only local athletes to compete in a final, several others performed well enough to advance to today's track finals in Jefferson.
One of those runners is Barger's teammate Brandon Lawson, whose time of 2:00.75 was the seventh-fastest qualifying time in the 800-meter.
East Hall's Kerry Mata qualified with the fastest time (39.28) in the 300-meter Intermediate Hurdles, and he is poised for a top-five finish, if not a state championship in the event.
Buford High's C.J. Moore will compete in two events today after Friday's qualifying.
Moore ran an 11.07-second 100-yard dash to reach the finals in that event, and he was a part of the Wolves' 4x100 relay team that qualified for the finals with the fourth-fastest time in Class AA.
Seon Jones, Michael Fortson, Ronald King and Eric Barr join Moore on the relay team.
West Hall's Jason McCurdy and Riverside Military Academy's Steven Pulhar both qualified for today's 400-meter finals, with McCurdy advancing in Class AAA with a time of 51.07 and Pulhar reaching the championship race in Class AA with a time of 50.93.
The 400-meter finals kicks off the final day of the Georgia Olympics at 12:45 p.m. today.