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Tuesday May 24th, 2016 7:52PM

Cross country: Falcons win fourth straight region crown; GHS boys, Branch girls make state

By staff
CONYERS -- The Flowery Branch boys cross country team has led the Class AAAAA rankings for most of the season.

On Saturday they showed why.

The Falcons took first, second, fourth, fifth and seventh place amongst their top six runners to dominate the Region 8-AAAAA championships at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.

The performance helped Flowery Branch boys to claim their fourth straight region championship -- and it was nowhere near close, as the Falcons scored 19 points to second place Winder-Barrow's 75.

"I'm very pleased; the boys ran well, and I'm not disappointed with our girls at all," Flowery Branch coach Jimmy Sorrells said after watching the Lady Falcons finish third in the 8-AAAAA meet, clinching a state championship berth in next weekend's season finale in Carrollton.

Meanwhile, the Gainesville boys also earned a spot in Carrollton, taking third.

But the day belonged, undeniably, to the Falcons.

Nick Ashmead won the boys individual crown, crossing the finish line in 16 minutes, 46 seconds. He was pushed all the way by Flowery Branch teammate Jake Shewbert, who finished in 16:48. Miguel Martinez also finished fourth, while Brian Young was fifth. Taylor Fiorello finished in seventh, while James Salvik was 11th.

Gainesville was led by Juan Ortega, who finished eighth.

In the girls race, Flowery Branch's Cassie Ward took third to pace the Lady Falcons (21:02).

"They've been missing a key runner for a little while now, so it was a good performance overall," Sorrells said of the Lady Falcons.

Meanwhile, Flowery Branch's boys continued a proud tradition of finishing no worse than second in a region championship race.

"Since the school opened in 2002, the only time we've not qualified both teams for state was when we didn't send the girls in 2002 -- and then we only had four girls running," Sorrells said. "I'm proud of all the kids today."
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