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This week: Hall County track bragging rights up for grabs
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Speed, strength and endurance will be tested among all of Hall County’s track and field athletes at a single meet this week.

The Hall County Championship kicks off Tuesday at West Hall, inviting eight area teams to compete for county bragging rights.

The meet was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was rescheduled after inclement weather swept through the area over the weekend.

North Hall is the defending boys champion, while host West Hall won the girls title last season.

The Trojans were dominant in their win, outscoring second-place Gainesville 161-111 to secure the championship.

They recorded top-three finishes in 12 of 15 events and finished atop the podium in all three distance events.

This year, North Hall will compete without key distance runner Luis Gonzalez, who now competes for Truett-McConnell. He won county titles in the 800- and 3,200-meter events last year, and went on to win a state title in the latter event.

The West Hall girls won the 2012 title by edging Flowery Branch 127-112 following a strong performance from their sprinters. The Lady Spartans captured the 4x100 title and won four individual events, with 86 of their team points coming from two competitors — Maia Booker and LeNiesha Kearse, who are both back this season to defend their gold medals.

BIG-HITTING TEAMS FACE OFF: A Region 7-AAA baseball series between North Hall and Buford this week has the potential to be an offensive slugfest, considering how the two teams have been performing at the plate in recent games.

Both teams are enjoying winning streaks and producing runs at an enormous clip. The Trojans (10-1, 6-0 Region 7-AAA) have won eight straight games and have outscored opponents 98-9 over the span. They haven’t scored fewer than 10 runs or allowed more than one in their last six outings.

Buford isn’t too far behind in the same categories. The Wolves (9-1, 6-0) have won their last seven with a 68-2 scoring margin. Four of those wins include shutouts.

With both teams firing on all cylinders, the series could be an important one in deciding the Region 7-AAA frontrunner. They are the only teams left without a region loss.

The series begins at 5:55 p.m. tonight at North Hall, then heads to Buford at the same time Wednesday.

FALCONS BATTLE NATIONAL FORCE: Flowery Branch is the first area team to get a first-hand look at one of the nation’s top baseball programs when it matches up with Loganville tonight and Wednesday in a Region 8-AAAAA series.

The Red Devils (11-1, 4-0) were ranked No. 15 in the county among high school teams by Baseball America on March 12. They are one of four teams from Georgia in the top 25 and the highest-ranked team not in Gwinnett County.

Loganville’s claim to such major accolades are etched in the team’s recent history. The Red Devils won 31 games last season, earning a Class AAAA state title in the process. They haven’t won fewer than 20 games in a season since 2007.

They’re off to a strong start this year, having won seven straight games. That includes a 14-4 win over the nation’s No. 13 team, Grayson, on the same day both teams were awarded their ranking.

That’s not to say that Flowery Branch won’t put up a fight. The Falcons are off to a 9-4 start this season and have won five of their last six games. Like Loganville, they’re unbeaten in region play thus far.

The Red Devils are the first of two nationally ranked teams Flowery Branch will face this season. Nearby rival Gainesville appeared on the list at No. 17 and face the Falcons on April 17 and 19.

REGION 7-AAA UP FOR GRABS: Week after week, the West Hall boys soccer team fights off yet another tough foe and inches closer to a Region 7-AAA title.

In their last two games, the second-ranked Spartans (10-0, 4-0) have defeated two state-ranked teams from within the region, ousting Buford on March 15 and East Hall on Friday.

But even after all the hard-fought wins, they have yet another ranked opponent standing in their way — fourth-ranked Dawson County, which like West Hall is unscathed on the season with an 8-0 record. They’ll square off at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Dawsonville.

Only two teams will be left unbeaten in region play following the game — Tuesday’s winner and North Hall, which is 5-1-2 overall and 2-0 in region games. The Trojans face West Hall on April 16 and Dawson County on April 24.

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