HELEN -- The North Hall boys and White County girls ran away with the Region 7-AAA cross country championships Thursday at Unicoi State Park.
The Trojans placed six of the top eight runners in the individual race, including race winner Quintin Miles, to finish with 28 points, nearly 50 points better than second place Buford (72).
The Lady Warriors, behind winner Jenna Gearing, put five runners in the top 15 to finish with 37 points and hold off second-place Buford (49).
The top four teams advance to next week's Class AAA state meet in Carrollton.
White County coach Sam Borg said he was more than pleased with his team's effort. Gearing's run set a new course record and was just two seconds off her personal best.
"To win by that many points in a tight race was pretty good," Borg said. "I was real pleased with Jenna's effort. This was a tougher course than the one she set her PB so I thought this was probably the best race she's ever run."
Borg said now we will try to prepare for the state meet. Gearing is the defending state champion and the Lady Warriors, ranked third in Class AAA, will try to improve on last year's third-place finish.
"I would say Jenna is a heavy favorite again," Borg said. "We would like to finish third and there are some good teams right behind us. The two teams in front of us may be in higher league than the rest of AAA but we'll do the best we can."
After Gearing, Makayla Hewell of Banks County was second followed by Makayla Ellis of North Hall in third. Kristen Mitchell of White County was fourth and Buford's Bailey Roberts was fifth. Erin Marsh of Buford was sixth, Kaitlyn Gearing of White County was seventh, Megan Ward of Buford was eighth, Kaelyn Deal of Fannin County was ninth, and North Hall's Caroline Dickey finished tenth.
In the girls team standings, North Hall finished third with 52 points, Dawson County was fourth with 96 points, and Banks County fifth with 120 points. West Hall finished sixth with 188 and East Hall seventh with 192 points.
In the boys team standings, Dawson County was third with 100 points, White County fourth with 116 points, and West Hall was fifth with 140 points. Banks County finished sixth with 142, Fannin County was seventh at 171, and East Hall eighth with 233 points.
In the boys individual race, Dylan Forster of Dawson County finished second and North Hall's Bryce Schuebert, Zack Hill, and Corson Teasley finished third through fifth, respectively. Josh Thompson of Buford was sixth, Seth Chapman and Bailey Press of North Hall finished seventh and eighth, Austin Thompson of White County was ninth, and Banks County's Jose Diaz was tenth.