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Prep track: Falcons win Region 7-AAA title
Scott Chilton of Flowery Branch races to a first place finish in the boys 400 meter run at the Region 7-AAA track finals Tuesday at West Forsyth High School. Chilton finished with a time of 51.29, just ahead of second place finisher Jonathan Henson (51.67) of Gilmer. - photo by Jared Putnam l Times regional staff


Listen to Flowery Branch Jimmy Sorrells talk about winning the Region 7-AAA track and field championship.

CUMMING In track and field, a winner is often decided by a few seconds or a few inches, and while no photo finish was needed, the Region 7-AAA track and field champion was not determined until the final event.

After leading the majority of the tournament, Flowery Branch found itself down 82-81 to West Hall with only three events remaining. But the Falcons got a first place finish from senior Norvell Van in the 300-meter hurdles and a second-place finish from Daniel Martinez and a fourth-place finish from Jeffrey Velez in the 3,200-meter run to take back the lead.

Flowery Branch put the finishing touches on their second region title in three years by placing second in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:33.21, which was three seconds slower than first-place Gilmer.

"I was extremely nervous the whole day," Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said. "I knew West Hall had a chance of upsetting us and they did a great job of keeping me nervous all day."

Sorrells nerves were finally at ease when the final scores were revealed and Flowery Branch had a total of 111 and West Hall had 87. Gainesville High finished the meet in third place with a score of 70, North Hall finished fourth with 55 points and Gilmer rounded out the top five with a score of 46.

"I’m glad we were able to get this region championship as a team," said Van, who along with qualifying for the state meet as a part of the 4x400 relay team, qualified in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles with times of 14.93 and 40.64 respectively, as well as the pole vault event with a completed jump of 13 feet.

Van will be joined at the state meet by fellow Falcons Scott Chilton (first place in the 400 with a time of 51.29), freshman Maurice Riden (second place in the 800, 2:05.85) and Martinez, who finished second in the 3200 with a personal-best time of 9:55.96.

"That was the first time I’ve ever been under 10 minutes," Martinez said. "I’m so happy."

Riden, Martinez and Chilton were also members of the 4x400 relay team that qualified for the state meet.

"I feel awesome and I feel so proud to be able to coach these guys," Sorrells said. "It was a total group effort and a fantastic effort by everybody."

Also qualifying for the state meet were West Hall’s 4x100 relay team of Jake Copeland, Tray Malone, Terrell Penland and Marquise Stephens, who placed first in the region with a time of 43.97 seconds, which was .20 seconds faster then Gainesville’s team of Sam Wright, Teryan Rucker, Blake Sims and Tyler Adetona.

Along with competing in the state meet in the relay events, Penland (first place in the 100 with a time of 11.16), Stephens (second place in the 100 with a time of 11.2), Sims (first place in the 200 with a time of 22.59) and Adetona (second place in the 200 with a time of 23.16) also qualified for the state meet individually.

North Hall’s Nick Long, who won the region title in the 800 with a time of 2:00.07 and Nolan Clark, who won the 3200 with a time of 9:49.75 will also be competing in the state meet in Jefferson.

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