Success still lives in Gwinnett. Despite strong challenges from their Cobb and Fulton competitors, Gwinnett County programs won three of the four state championships in swimming and diving Saturday at Georgia Tech.
Parkview overcame stiff challenges from Lassiter and Brookwood to take home its first boys state championship since 2007. The Panthers are the 12th consecutive Gwinnett school to win the boys Class AAAAA state championship, as Peachtree Ridge won last year’s title while Brookwood won the previous three.
The Panthers were led once again by stalwarts Ricky Lehner, Devyn Hughes and Christopher Rogers. Despite winning comfortably over runner-up Lassiter (310-229), the Panthers nearly relived bad memories from 2011 when Geoff Carter was disqualified, costing Parkview valuable points and, eventually, the state title. Carter was again DQed in the 100 breatstroke, but paperwork was not filed and the points didn’t come of Parkview’s title. However losing the points would not have mattered, as the Panthers won by a relatively large margin.
Meanwhile, Parkview’s neighborhood rival, Brookwood, took home the girls Class AAAAA championship by outpointing Lassiter 226-189. The Broncos’ championship was the first girls AAAAA title for Gwinnett County since Brookwood won it in 2004. The runner-up Trojans had won the past four titles.
But tonight was Gwinnett’s night, and Brookwood would not be denied. Despite winning just one race – Kelsey Gouge’s victory in the 50 free – the Broncos managed to pile up enough points to win the overall title. Brookwood’s depth and consistency proved to be the winning edge. The Broncos had four second-place finishes and two third-place finishes in the meet.
Wesleyan was the third Gwinnett school to take home a championship this weekend after its boys team took the Class A-AAAA title. The Wolves were the lone repeat champion from last year’s state championship meets. In the closest competition of the weekend, Wesleyan (202.5) edged Chattahoochee (195) and Johns Creek (188) for the championship.
A comeback win by the 400 freestyle relay team clinched the win for the Wolves, who were down by two seconds in the race before a late rally. Nick Salyers and Anthony McMurry led Wesleyan to victory, as has been the case all season. The seniors brought their relay team back in the 400 free, and also placed highly in several others races.
Westminster, the lone winner from outside Gwinnett, won the girls Class A-AAAA meet for the first time since 2006. The Wildcats championship ended a five-year reign by Marist in the classification.