KERNERSVILLE, N.C. – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association held it’s 56th annual Men’s Cross Country Championships and 37th annual Women’s Championships in Kernersville at Ivey Redmon Sports Complex. On a beautiful day in Central North Carolina over 800 runners took part in the event.
1A WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – FRANKLIN ACADEMY AND LINCOLN CHARTER’S GAMMON BRING HOME CHAMPIONSHIPS
Michaela Gammon from Lincoln Charter paced the field, winning the event in a time of 19:15.58, a course classification record. Gammon’s time bested the time set by last year’s 1A champion Blakely Moore from Highlands who finished the same course in 20:42.13. Gammon’s top finish helped Lincoln Charter to a runner-up finish in the team competition with 98 points.
The team championship went to Franklin Academy was the overall team champion with 79 points, as Franklin Academy runners averaged a time of 21:26.02. They were led by four runners in the top 25 of the team meet. Caitlyn Burkett led the Patriots with a second-place finish in a time of 19:45.78. The team championship was Franklin Academy’s first team championship in Women’s Cross Country.
1A MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – VOYAGER’S BENNETT AND WALKERTOWN TAKE TITLES
Walkertown’s Men’s cross country team brought home back-to-back team Cross Country championships as they finished with 72 points behind a superb team average time of 17:33.36. The title was their second in the sport in school history. The top finisher for Walkertown was James Warren, who finished eighth overall in a time of 17:04.32.
Luke Bennett from Voyager Academy paced the race, completing the course in 16:22.34. His time set a new course record in the 1A Classification. His title is the first individual championship in Men’s Cross Country for a Voyager Academy student-athlete.
2A WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – FORBUSH’S KILBY WINS AND BREVARD GOES BACK-TO-BACK
Anna-Kathryn Kilby edged out Eliza Witherspoon from Brevard by just under three seconds to win Forbush’s first Women’s Cross Country individual championship. Kilby finished the course at Ivey Redmon Sports Complex in 18:54.77, setting a new 2A course record for the facility.
Brevard’s women, behind a solid finish from Witherspoon, ran to back-to-back team championships in the event. Brevard finished with a team total of 72 points, comfortably in front of runners-up Smoky Mountain who posted 107. In addition to Brevard’s Witherspoon in the top-five individually, Ava Findlay posted a fourth place finish, helping the team to an average time of 20:16.02. It was the fourth team title for Brevard in school history.
2A MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – GRAHAM OUT-TOUCHES MENDENHALL FOR INDIVIDUAL, LAKE NORMAN CHARTER SPRINTS TO TEAM TITLE
Noah Graham from Brevard just out-touched Dakota Mendenhall from Forbush to win the 2A Individual title. Graham’s time of 16:03.01 gave him the edge over Mendenhall’s 16:03.91. The win by Graham is the first individual championship by a student-athlete from Brevard in Men’s Cross Country. His time also set a new course record for the 2A Classification by over 33 seconds.
Lake Norman Charter took the team championship with a total of 93. Runner-up went to Smoky Mountain with 120 on the afternoon. Brian Hack was the top time for Lake Norman Charter, posting a 17:07.47 which put him in 14th place in the individual event. This was the first team championship for the Lake Norman Charter men’s team.
3A WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – FISHER CRUISES TO INDIVIDUAL TITLE, CHAPEL HILL WINS 11TH TEAM CROWN
Emme Fisher from West Carteret paced the field in the 3A Women’s Cross Country State Championship, posting a time of 18:26.82. Fisher held off Cuthbertson’s Sarah LaTour who finished in second with a time of 18:42.87. Fisher’s time set a new course record for the 3A Women’s Classification, besting Anna Vess’ (A.C. Reynolds) time of 18:49.57 set last year.
Chapel Hill won the school’s 11th state championship in women’s cross country. The Tigers posted a score of 53, 16 points in front of runner-up Cuthbertson. Weddington finished in third with 79 points. The Chapel Hill back-to-back title was made possible by a pair of top ten finishes, one from Katherine Dokholyan, who finished fourth overall at 18:55.70, while teammate Madi Marvin finished ninth overall in a time of 19:21.39.
3A MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – MELVILLE GOES BACK-TO-BACK, CHAPEL HILL TAKES 10TH TEAM TITLE
David Melville, a junior from Northern Guilford, led the field at the 3A Men’s Cross Country State Championships, posting a time of 15:39.24. He claimed his second consecutive individual state championship in the event. Melville held off a good charge from South Johnston senior Jacob Gonzalez who finished in a time of 15:53.69.
The Chapel Hill men posted a team score of 86 to sail by second place Weddington who score 131. The Tigers were led by Nat Romaine who crossed in a time of 16:34.17, good enough for 16th in the individual event. They also got solid performances from Eric Vanderford who finished 22nd overall in 16:45.64 and Ryan Combs who posted a 23rd place finish in 16:46.09.
4A WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – LEESVILLE ROAD’S MARENO AND GIBBONS WOMEN GO BACK-TO-BACK
Last year’s individual 4A event winner Nevada Mareno from Leesville Road repeated her victory with a time of 17:27.62. Her time set a new 4A Women’s course record, bettering her own time from last year of 17:46.50.
Cardinal Gibbons took home top team honors for the second year in a row at the 4A level after moving up from 3A. The Crusader women have won seven straight cross country championships between the 3A and 4A level. The Crusaders placed four runners in the meet’s top 10, as Sloan Walter, Katharine Priu and Annie Pierce finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
4A MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP – BROUGHTON EDGES GREEN HOPE FOR TEAM TITLE, LANE WINS INDIVIDUAL FOR GIBBONS
Broughton got five finsihers in the top 20 of the team competition and that helped the Capitals edge out Green Hope for first by a single point. The Capitals finished with the team title and 67 points with an average finish time of 16:12.42. Green Hope finished a tight second with 68 team points and an average team time of 16:11.67. It was the seventh team cross country title for Broughton and first since a string of four in a row between 2011 and 2014.
Connor Lane from Cardinal Gibbons dusted the course 4A classification record with a time of 15:12.57. His finish eclipsed last year’s mark of 15:44.62 set by Broughton’s Jeremy Brown. Lane’s individual championship is the third all-time by a Cardinal Gibbons Men’s runner.