SUWANEE — Parkview’s boys 3,200-meter relay set the tone from the start in Monday’s Gwinnett County Track and Field Championships at Peachtree Ridge.
The foursome of Martin Robles, Andrew Todd, Caden Hall and David Garcia broke the meet record with a time of 8 minute, 6.06 seconds, and the Panthers later added a second relay victory in the 400 in 41.79 seconds from the team of Champ Baker, Leon Christian, William Mitchell III and Muhammad Jackson. Those relay wins and team depth were the keys to the Panthers holding off talented runner-up Buford, which stacked up some elite performances of its own.
In the end, Parkview finished with 98 points to Buford’s 90, while Brookwood was a solid third at 75. Shiloh (55) and Archer (53) rounded out the top five.
“We had some kids that stepped up big,” Parkview coach Matt Henson said. “We knew that Leon Christian would do his thing. We expected that Andrew Todd and Caden Hall and Martin Robles and those kids would do their thing. But Muhammad Jackson came on big for us. We knew he was coming. He was kind of one of those nice secrets. Khalil Carr, Will Mitchell came on. I just feel like the coaches I work with get so much out of kids. Coach (Jason) Fisher made a last-second adjustment today on the 4 by 1 that gave us a shot to beat a team and we held on. We found a way to do it. We feel like we’re pretty competitive across the board.”
Christian was second in the 200 (21.66) and third in the 100 (10.74), and Jackson was fourth in the 100 (10.89) and fourth in the 300 hurdles (41.29). Robles (fourth, 1:59.93) and Hall (fifth, 2:01.11) were in the top five in the 800, Todd took fifth in the 3,200 (9:32.38) and Keonte Knight was fifth in the 110 hurdles (15.96).
The Panthers had a 37-15 edge on Buford after Saturday’s field events and the 1,600, which featured a fifth-place run from Hall. Bryce Fleetwood won the long jump, Cody Brown was second in discus and seventh in shot, Kwesi Tillman was fifth in shot, Haven Maruyama was fifth in pole vault and Christian was fifth in triple jump.
The 22-point lead after Day 1 came in handy for Class AAAAAAA Parkview with hard-charging Buford, a AAAAAA title contender, closing the gap Monday.
“Much respect to Parkview, they’ve got a great program, great volume of kids and so do we,” Buford coach Fyrone Davis said. “I think our program has arrived nationally. I think people know who we are when we show up now. That was my goal when I took over the program — how can we get to a national level on the boys, just like the girls? And I feel like we’re there now.”
Buford’s girls team has won the last three state championships contested from 2017-19 — the COVID-19 pandemic kept it from challenging for four in a row last spring — and the boys team appears ready for a title push, too.
The Wolves closed the meet with a win in the 1,600 relay (3:20.45) from the foursome of Ryland Gandy, Victor Venn, Malik Williams and Victor Payne. Isaiah Bond won the 100 in 10.59 and was third in the 200 in 21.71, while Venn was fifth in the 100 (11.04) and Williams was fourth in the 200 (22.22). Williams also won the long jump on Saturday.
Tobi Olawole was county champion in the 400 with a school-record time of 48.26, and Gandy was fifth in that event in 50.27. Payne won the 300 hurdles in 40.03, and was second in the 110 hurdles in 15.03.
“I told people, ‘We’re really, really good.’ I knew how good we were going to be going into the 2021 season on the boys end,” Davis said. “Isaiah Bond and Victor Payne and Ryland Gandy and Tobi, him running 48 something today. He broke Gabe Ervin’s record, which is elite. Isaiah runs 10.59. We got some elite times. I’m so happy right now.”
Brookwood’s Walker Hanley won the 110 hurdles in 14.53, keeping Payne from sweeping the hurdles races. The two flipped that order in the 300 hurdles with Payne’s 40.03 narrowly edging Hanley’s 40.06.
South Gwinnett’s Nigel Hussey also had a big day with a championship in the 200 (21.62), and a runner-up finish in the 100 (10.62). Mill Creek’s Lance Wells won the 800 in 1:56.49, and Dacula’s Ben Butcher was the 3,200 champion at 9:22.95.