Region 7-AAA championships
Team point totals
1. West Forsyth 164
2. Flowery Branch 112
3. Creekview 79
4. Lambert 62.5
5. Gainesville 57.5
6. West Hall 42
7. North Hall 33
8. Chestatee 19
9. (tie) Pickens 14
9. (tie) Gilmer 14
11. White County 12
12. Lumpkin County 9
13. Johnson 5
CUMMING — After three region titles in three seasons, you might think West Forsyth girls track and field team would be sad to say goodbye to Region 7-AAA in the fall.
But Wolverines coach Clayton Tillery says leaving the region won’t be nearly as tough as losing his seniors — particularly the kids who have been with him since their freshman years, when he coached at South Forsyth, before opening the doors in West Forsyth’s program.
“I’ve been with some of these kids for four years, so that’s the first time in about three years that I’ve had to actually lose a kid that’s been with me the whole time, so that’ll be a little rough banquet coming up here before long,” Tillery said.
On Tuesday, the Lady Wolverines used their veteran leadership to wrangle a third straight region title, winning the 7-AAA meet in their own track.
With 164 team points, West Forsyth finished well ahead of second place Flowery Branch (112). Creekview (79) and Lambert (62.5) were third and fourth in the standings.
“(The seniors have) left a mark that I think in the future other kids are going to look to and want to achieve. Winning two region titles you’re doing something,” Tillery said.
“We’ve won three in a row, and to win it over Flowery Branch three times, Gainesville’s in there, Creekview’s coming on strong. There was a good showing by some individuals from Lambert in this meet. It’s not easy to win, so it’s fun to win with these kids.”
West Forsyth won five of six field events on the first day of the meet. The Lady Wolverines were less dominant in the track events Tuesday, winning two of nine. West Forsyth’s track victories came from Kat Gibson in the 800 meter run (2:20.94) and as a team in the 4x400 meter relay (4:11.20).
But as Tillery — who shares coaching duties on a staff of seven — pointed out, it’s not just first place finishes that count.
“It’s not so much winning the events that we had as some of the seconds and thirds. You start doing things like that, it starts making huge differences,” he said.
“I didn’t account for many points (as a coach), but my other coaches accounted for a lot of points. I try to surround myself with good coaches, and we have good athletes, and good stuff will happen.”
Senior Gibson also took second in the 400 meter dash, while senior teammate Alex Shook was second in the 100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. Wolverine senior Missy Smith was second in the 200 meter run, while the hosts finished second as a team in the 4x100 relay.
Flowery Branch junior Erika Rucker took home first place finishes in both the 400 meters (57.92 seconds) and 200 meters (26.29).
“It was a good day. I just wish I could have done better because I’m hurt ... I strained my hamstring twice. I just got hurt last week and I just got better today, so I’ve just been resting (leading up to the meet),” Rucker said.
Rucker’s performance helped propel the Lady Falcons past Gainesville, which was in second place after Day 1.
Lambert’s Allie Schaich owned the individual distance runs on the day, winning in the 1,600 meter Monday and 3,200 meter runs during Day 2.
The day was windy and overcast throughout, and the meet was halted for an hour when a brief hailstorm descended on the stadium.
The Lady Wolverines charged to the front of the pack Monday by winning five of the seven events contested for a total of 86 points.
The girls state meet will take place in Albany from May 6-8.