In the end, the Marietta boys and girls successfully defended last year’s county titles.
The Blue Devils, despite graduating more than 60 percent of last year’s point scorers, used their speed to dash in front of Harrison on Monday and seal the win with 97 points.
The Marietta boys scored in every event except the pole vault.
“It was a total team effort,” Marietta boys coach Nick Houstoulakis said. “We have a really young team and to do what we did here is outstanding. They wanted it so bad.”
Harrison finished second with 68 points following a strong day in the field events Saturday. The Hoyas held off North Cobb and McEachern, who finished third and fourth with 66 and 60 points, respectively.
The Marietta girls crowned three field champions, which helped them build a 32-point lead over Pope going into Monday’s meet. The Lady Blue Devils had no difficulty sustaining their lead to win with 130 points.
The Lady Greyhounds were a distant second with 99 and McEachern made up ground Monday to take third with 89. Walton and Hillgrove were tied for fourth with 48 points.
“The field events ended up giving us a huge lead,” Marietta girls coach Chad Christman said. “We knew that Pope would make a run with their sprinters and hurdlers, but the girls had such heart.”
While the Marietta girls weren’t seriously threatened during Monday’s track events, the boys came into it with a bit more urgency, knowing they were trailing Harrison by six.
The Blue Devils cut the gap in half after KirVonte’ Benson won the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.79 seconds. Four events later, Simeyon Bennett (1:58.13) and Khayvonn Benson (1:58.66) took second and third in the 800 behind Whitefield Academy’s Robby Keough (1:55.49) to surpass Harrison in the standings.
Then Benson’s win in the 200 in 21.95 toward the end of the meet gave Marietta a 15-point lead.
“The 200 was a real surprise, I wasn’t supposed to even place,” Benson said. “A hamstring kept me out for two meets, but when I came back, I knew my potential and had to show it (Monday).”
Jack Henderson taking third in the 3,200 in (9:41.61) behind Walton’s Kenan Farmer (9:17.91) and Kell’s Logan Poteet (9:23.06) helped Marietta stay in front before capping the meet with a win in the 1,600 relay (3:22.74).
For the Marietta girls, Rebecca Dow scored points in the 3,200 by taking fourth 11:50.66 behind Walton’s Avery Bussjager (10:58.67), Pope’s Ashley Kehoe (11:17.08) and Hillgrove’s Claire Warren (11:43.96).
But Marietta left no doubt after Mary Jeanne Assinzo won the 800 with a meet-record time of 2:13.94.
“It was unexpected,” Assinzo said. “I wasn’t expecting to run 2:13 at this point in the season.”
Although no one came close to catching the Marietta girls, McEachern made it interesting early.
The Lady Indians got things started with a win in the 400-meter relay (46.46) and ended with a win in the 1,600 relay (3:49.79). In the individual events, MaKenzie Dunsmore won the 400 with a meet record time of 54.49, breaking her own record 55.06 she set in her preliminary run. Dunsmore also won the 200, clocking in at 24.72. She also got help from Shania Evans, who won the 100 in 21.18.
The North Cobb boys won the 400 relay (41.93) and Anthony Simmons prevailed in the 400 for the Warriors with a time of 49.01. Shanel Burr won the 100 hurdles (13.98) for the North Cobb girls but couldn’t hold the lead in the 300 hurdles, setting for second to Hillgrove’s Chelsea Clayton, who won and set a personal best 43.84
Robert Dunning was a two-time individual champion for the Kennesaw Mountain boys, winning the 110 hurdles in 14.49 and the 300 hurdles in 38.85.