Northwestern wrapped up its fourth straight Region 3-AAAA title on Monday, edging South Pointe 72-64 in boys track and field.
On the girls side, Northwestern's Mary Kate DuBard broke the school record in the 3,200 meters as the Lady Trojans breezed past the Lady Stallions 101-44.
The top five finishers in each event at the region meet, the next event on the schedule, will participate in the state qualifier at Spring Valley High School on May 3. From there, the top eight will advance to the state meet, also at Spring Valley, the following week.
"It's nice to see everyone excited about track," Northwestern coach Calvin Hudgins said. "I thought both teams performed extremely well. It came down to the last three events."
Hudgins said the 200 was pivotal.
"At the county meet, we ran extremely well in the 200," he said. "I thought we had a chance to win two of the top three spots. Taking all three was huge. Neither of us has a burner but we have guys that can run and compete."
The meet came with mixed emotions for Hudgins and South Pointe coach Bob Jenkins. Jenkins coached at Northwestern for 26 years before retiring. He returned three years ago to start up the Stallions' program and already has them competing at a high level.
"This was two great teams going to war," Jenkins told his team afterward. "One old, wonderful program. And one new, wonderful program."
Jenkins' mind was already set on planning for a middle school region meet and Thursday's varsity regional. South Pointe will host both.
"In a lot of ways, this was like coming home," Jenkins said. "I spent 26 years coaching here. This was a great meet. The races were tremendous. I love the sport of track and I love the people."
Hudgins had only compliments for Jenkins.
"Bob and I are close. He's a great competitor," Hudgins said. "He wants to win and so do I."
Both boys teams entered the meet with 5-0 region records. The champ was decided in the final three events of the afternoon.
South Pointe led 55-45 through 12 events. Northwestern tightened things up by sweeping the top three spots in the 200 meters.
Jarrett Neely was the winner with Tyler Blake and Octavious Sherer coming in second and third, respectively. Neely won the long jump and Blake figured prominently in the 4x400 relay race, as well.
By the end of the 3,200, Northwestern held a 62-56 lead behind Tip Reburn and David Faircloth's 1-2 finish. With a rowdy home crowd lining the final 100 meters of the boys 4x400 relay, Blake held off his opponent and Northwestern had the crown.
Reburn missed two meets last week due to injury. He often competes in three or four events but was saved just for the 3,200 on Monday.
"I was well aware of the team scores going into the race," he said. "I knew I needed to finish first or second for my team."
Faircloth, a senior, finished less than three seconds behind.
DuBard garnered all the attention in the 3,200. A senior who will run for Georgia Tech in the fall, DuBard ran in the boys race. After 1,600 meters the word got out that DuBard was on a school-record pace. With a lap to go, it became apparent she would break it.
DuBard finished in 10:49.4, beating the school mark held by Angelina Blackmon by nearly six seconds. DuBard said she wanted to break the record on her home track.
"I was trying to go for the record. This was the last home meet I'll ever run here," she said. "It is special to break it at home."
Her previous best was 10:56. The record-setting performance also capped a weekend in which she was named prom queen.
"Mary Kate is phenomenal," Hudgins beamed. "She is the most coachable distance runner we've ever had. She's worked so hard. It is amazing she did all this and played basketball."
Emily Smith won in the triple jump (34'10") and high jump (5'4") for Northwestern. Tierra Lewis won the shot (31'11") and discus (95'6").