The Freedom Invitational, the Cannon School Invitational, the Adidas Raleigh Invite, and the Hagan Stone Relays all took place this past weekend. There were outstanding performances at each of the meets. Teams continue to show up and surprise, while others continue to simply solidify the talk.
Below is a break down of the meets from the weekend.
Hagan Stone Relays
The girls race was up first, and the obvious favorites got out to the front on the opening leg. Cary, Cardinal Gibbons, Green Hope, and Providence Day all got off to great starts. On the 2nd leg, Providence Day's Jill Yandle overtook the other 3 teams and gained quite a lead, running a solid 9:15 over the 1.55-mile course. The 3rd leg saw Cardinal Gibbons run right back on the Providence Day girls and actually take the lead as well. Meanwhile, Green Hope and Cary were slowly gaining ground. The 4th leg was a battle between Gibbons and Providence Day, but in the end Gibbon's #4 runner pulled away in the last 300m. Cary crept up and continued to chop into the lead during the 4th leg. Handing off to Heather Beichner, a 5:08 miler, assured the Gibbon's girls of victory. Heather ran an outstanding time of about 9:06 all by herself to lead Gibbons to the victory. The new race for 2nd place, and it included Cary, Providence Day, and Green Hope. Green Hope's #5 runner also ran an outstanding time and passed the other two schools with about 500m to go and never looked back, to place her team 2nd. Cary had passed Providence Day as well, but PD's #5 fought back and outkicked the Cary runner for 3rd place. It was an exciting race for the top spots!
Logan Roberts got Broughton off to a great start by handing off in first place. Clay Sankey also led Providence Day to a quick start. Both athletes broked 8:00 on the first leg. Green Hope and Gibbons were back, but still in the race. Green Hope's 2nd leg ran a great race. He almost caught Broughton and moved his team into 2nd place. Providence Day and Gibbons were following in 3rd and 4th. During the 3rd and 4th legs, Cardinal Gibbons made up some ground and gave their anchor, Sean Sewell a race with Sam Mordecai. Sewell made up ground on Mordecai during the first mile and by the mile mark was right on him. However, it seemed like Sewell spent too much energy gaining that ground, as Mordecai pulled away over the final half mile to lead Broughton to victory. Gibbons finished 2nd, with Green Hope and Providence Day taking the next 2 spots.
It was another great day at Hagan Stone for the relays. It truly is an exciting, fun event. There are plenty of pictures on the front page of NCrunners.com.
Adidas Raleigh Invite
Chapel Hill came in as the favorites in both race, However, Enloe was expected to give the Chapel Hill boys a race for the team title. That didn't happen! Both Chapel Hill teams looked VERY strong at the SAS Soccer Complex.
The Chapel Hill girls looked to pack it up, by glancing at the results. Their 1-5 spread was just 23 seconds, 19:47-20:10. Kristina Witcher led the way for the girls who placed 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, & 8th. This is a very strong girls team. Cary Academy, 2005 NCISAA state champs, finished 2nd and was led by Rachel Park's 3rd place finish. Then, in 3rd place, Burlington Williams was led by Lindsay Ester. Ester and her team are off to a great start this season and are making heads turn in 3A running.
Andie Cozzarelli turned in a solid performance winning in 18:50 on a rolling course. Andie has turned in 2 sub 19:00 performances so far this year. She is definitely one of the favorites to win the 4A state title.
Chapel Hill's boys also performed quite well. Could they be deeper than last year? Taylor Gilland once again led the boys by winning the race in 16:03. Dakota Lowery of West Johnston continues to run well, as he finished in 2nd only 5 seconds back. Chapel Hill's #2 runner, Miles Rampel, seems to be running faster and faster each week. Look out for him by season end. Chapel Hill's top 7 finished in: 16:03, 16:11, 16:35, 16:53, 17:02, 17:22, 17:32. Solid!
Enloe wasn't able to compete with Chapel Hill for the title, instead they found themselves in a battle for 2nd with East Chapel Hill. The bright spot of Enloe has to be freshman Nick Graw's performance. Nick is proving early on to be the top freshmen in the state.
On another note, middle distance star, Dylan Ferris, ran a big 5k PR. Maybe the move up to the mile last track season is helping him with his 5k?
In the Invitational races, South Meck's girls easily won the team title and Eastern Alamance's boys won handily as well.
Topsail's, Zatha Loewen, turned in a solid 20:01 to win the Invitational. She is looking to be the early favorite to win the individual 1A state title.
Finally, Reservoir's Brian Allen, won the individual Invitational title in 17:00.
All the talk prior to the race was about the 3A match up between Mooresville and Reagan. The talk is going to continue because the Mooresville boys held out their top 7 boys and the Reagan boys won by a lot.
Thomas Young, Reagan HS, ran 17:21 and set a new course record for the hilly and traditionally slow course at Cannon School. Not far behind him was Michael Branagan, who is having an outstanding season for Gaston Christian thus far.
Reagan placed their top 5 in the top 18, but did they do enough to scare Mooresville, TC Roberson, or Charlotte Catholic?
In the girls race, Reagan dominated, with a team low 32 points. Cannon's girls, trying to defend on their home course, finished 2nd, 20 points behind. Cannon, and the rest of the field, was led by Heather Ekstrom. Heather won in 21:08, only 4 seconds off the course record. Cannon, which has moved from 2A to 3A among Independent schools, is ranked 3rd by NCrunners and in the Coaches Poll. Heather defeated Sarah Cline of Charlotte Country Day, who won the 3A state title last year. So it hasn't taken long for Cannon to prove themselve in this new classification.
Reagan's girls placed 6 runners in the top 12 to secure a team championship. Look for their girls to jump way up in the next 3A Coaches Poll, which comes out this week.
Providence's girls dominated without their entire top 7. Most noticeably, Autumn Todd, their #1, didn't run. However, the girls still managed to put 4 runners in the top 10. Some may have seen this as a show down between Providence's girls and last year's surprsie team, North Meck. That wasn't the case though. North Meck's girls did finish in 2nd but they doubled up the team score of Providence.
The Weddington girls had a very nice race and may have done enough to bump them into the top 10 of 4A schools. Their top 5 girls were only 38 seconds apart.
Kimberly Spano won her 2nd Invitational of the season, but as easily as some would have expected. Hannah Orders of Hopewell, has begun the season running very well and definitely gave Spano a scare on the Freedom course. Spano only won by 2 seconds!
In the boys race, it was a show down between a solid Providence team and a much improved Weddington squad. When the scores were tabulated, Weddington came out on top. Weddington looked strong just as they did at the WNC CC Carnival. Matt Snider led the team with his 3rd place finish. Behind him, Weddington put 5 other runners under the 18:00 barrier. Providence had a solid 3, as they were all in the top 7, but then they had to wait quite some time for their 4th and 5th runners to come across the line.
John Curtiss of Providence, won the meet by 15 seconds, in 16:18. John is one of the state's top returners this year and is coming off a very successful track season in which he ran 4:18 and 1:56.