Boys All-Classes Pre-Season Rankings

Three teams with strong packs top the list, but only one of them has a pack that contains four returners under 16 minutes.

 

NCRunners is counting down the top 25 boys cross country teams in the state, from all classifications, in preparation for the start of the fall season.  The top 3 boys teams will be revealed on August 1st, which is the official first day of practice.  For a more detailed explanation of how these rankings were developed, see this article.

 

#1 Broughton

In the case of the 2013 Capitals, we might be moving out of the realm of "best in the state" and into more glorified territory: this is potentially one of the best teams in the country, and could become one of the best in the history of our state.  The numbers are amazing: 4 returners under 16 minutes, including the #3 individual coming into the season, William Roberson.  That makes Broughton the 7th-best returning team in the country, according to the MileSplit database, disregarding course differences.  In the spring season, this team put six athletes under 10 minutes for the 3200; that puts the Caps at US #6.  Even the new MileSplit Composite Team Rankings (more on them tomorrow) agree, ranking Broughton 4th in the country.  When looking at returning 5K times, there is only one apparent weakness, which is the drop-off after the top 4.  Considering that returning 5 and 6 runners Peter Millsaps and Will Sandin ran 9:47 and 9:52, however, I'm not sure that's much of a weakness.  This team is strong enough to have some post-state-meet ambitions, and it will be interesting to see how that develops as the season progresses.

  Broughton (NC)  
  1) William Roberson   15:22.27 3
  2) John Dalton Rohr   15:40.00 8
  3) Jeremy Brown   15:46.43 10
  4) Asher Smith-Rose   15:50.10 11
  5) Peter Millsaps   16:26.10 43
  Average Time: 15:48.98 Total Time: 1:19:04.90 1-5 Split: 1:03.83
  6) Will Sandin   16:32.68 56
  7) Troy Kelly   17:47.02 285

 

#2: South View

How tight is the Tigers' pack?  Only 17 seconds separate their returning 1-5 runners, which is actually the 7th-smallest split in the nation according to our database.    They also sport a 19-second 1-6 split, and having that extra runner in the pack provides a lot of insurance against injuries or bad days.  You can tell South View has made a year-long commitment to improving, as they ranked 2nd in the winter and 3rd in the spring when considering team-scored 3200 results.  Even their track times are packed up: their returning top 5 all ran between 4:35.10 and 4:36.15, over four separate meets, and they had four runners between 9:46 and 9:58 in the 3200 (that's more under 10 minutes than any other team in the state except Broughton, by the way).  If their lead runners can break 16:10 at the state meet, this team can definitely score under 100 points, and that might get them the silver trophy...but the gold one might be out of reach.

  South View (NC)  
  1) Michael Staples   16:26.00 41
  2) Titus Grant   16:30.00 51
  3) Javier Alejandro   16:41.00 75
  4) Joseph Moody   16:41.41 76
  5) Austin Crawford   16:43.00 81
  Average Time: 16:36.28 Total Time: 1:23:01.41 1-5 Split: 17.00
  6) Joe Cox   16:45.00 84
  7) David McCalahan   17:38.00 256

 

#3: R.J. Reynolds

After finishing 6th in the 2012 state meet, this team showed immediate improvement by finishing 1st in the winter-season team-scored 3200 rankings.  6 of the Demons' top 7 runners are back, and the returning top 5 are separated by only 36 seconds (and all of them under 16:50).  There is a big drop-off after those five, though, which means that staying healthy and cultivating depth need to be the top priorities.  Dustin Sneed has sub-16 potential, and both Joe Wilson and Spencer Kirk showed improvement during the outdoor season (the Ciaccia brothers play lacrosse).  With a strong summer, it's not hard to see how R.J. Reynolds could have five runners under 16:30, giving them a chance to be on the stage when the 4A state meet is over.

  R.J. Reynolds (NC)  
  1) Dustin Sneed   16:13.59 24
  2) Andrew Ciaccia   16:38.60 70
  3) Nick Ciaccia   16:39.70 71
  4) Joe Wilson   16:41.60 77
  5) Spencer Kirk   16:49.99 90
  Average Time: 16:36.70 Total Time: 1:23:03.48 1-5 Split: 36.40
  6) Aaron Cooper   17:49.59 298
  7) James Tatter   18:14.00 384

 

#4: Pinecrest

Graduation put a small dent in the Patriot's vaunted pack, although this year's squad still sports a 38-second 1-4 split.  On the other hand, Chris Kelly is showing signs of becoming a true front-runner, having run 9:35 for 3200 this spring.  Matt Harmody also broke 10 minutes, helping lead Pinecrest to the #2 spot in the team-scored 3200 rankings from outdoor season.  This team could have a tremendous front 4 by the end of the season, and if they can cultivate a little more depth the Patriots will be formidable.  This is one of at least five 4A teams with a legitimate chance of finishing 2nd at the state meet, and that means this will be a very interesting season, indeed.

  Pinecrest (NC)  
  1) Chris Kelly   16:07.00 17
  2) Matt Harmody   16:24.90 40
  3) Javier Bustos   16:34.00 58
  4) Robert Anderson   16:45.00 83
  5) Brandon Elliott   17:12.64 152
  Average Time: 16:36.71 Total Time: 1:23:03.54 1-5 Split: 1:05.64
  6) Neil Clark   17:23.78 197
  7) Tommy Delaunay   17:32.10 229

 

#5: Providence Day

Firepower up front: this team has it.  Providence Day boasts three of the top 41 returning runners in the state, including #2 Ben Huffman and #15 Nick Linder.  That kind of top three will make the Chargers very difficult to beat, in and of itself.  Their weakness, on the other hand, is the nearly 1-minute gap between their 3rd and 4th runners, although there is solid depth through #7.  That line-up is good enough to make this squad the pre-season favorite in the NCISAA 3A classification, but Providence Day will need to close that gap to compete with the best 3A and 4A teams in major invitationals.  That will have to happen over the summer: although Huffman and Linder had excellent spring track seasons, only one other member of the returning top 7 posted an impressive time (and that was Evan Gray in the 800, and event that doesn't always translate to cross country success).  This ranking is based on potential; if the Chargers' 4-7 runners drop 30 seconds each, this team could beat anyone in the state except maybe our #1 school.

  Providence Day School (NC)  
  1) Ben Huffman   15:21.20 2
  2) Nick Linder   16:02.66 13
  3) Jack Paddison   16:16.12 32
  4) Chad Matthews   17:09.00 143
  5) Evan Gray   17:14.00 154
  Average Time: 16:24.60 Total Time: 1:22:02.98 1-5 Split: 1:52.80
  6) Garrett Lunking   17:19.00 176
  7) Hayden Davis   17:43.00 272

 

#6: Cardinal Gibbons

Talk about a solid team and a consistent program!  The Crusaders return four sub-17 runners, with only 45 seconds separating their top 5.  David Edwards and JT Klimek both broke 10 minutes in the 3200, although Cardinal Gibbons seemed to play this past outdoor season low-key, with minimal racing (which might be an indication that they were concentrating on long-term training).  With a tremendous tradition of success behind them (this is the 6th-best program in the state over the last 7 years) and the last two 3A state championships in their trophy case, this team has no intention of allowing a big drop-off to happen this year.  Expect them to have 2-3 runner that threaten the 16-minute mark, and 5 solidly under 17, by the end of the season; that will be enough to put them in contention for a three-peat.

  Cardinal Gibbons (NC)  
  1) Jake Zawada   16:17.00 33
  2) David Edwards   16:17.00 34
  3) Cody Nagy   16:31.91 54
  4) Jt Klimek   16:59.00 109
  5) Chase McCord   17:02.00 117
  Average Time: 16:37.38 Total Time: 1:23:06.91 1-5 Split: 45.00
  6) Anthony Cortina   17:26.84 207
  7) Ethen Lund   17:39.63 263

 

#7: Apex

This squad has a very strong front 3, and it also has good depth, but there is a small gap between their returning 3rd and 4th runner.  Mihret Coulter certainly plans to run under 16 minutes this fall, making him one of the better individuals in the state (which is justified by his 9:40 for 3200 this past spring).  The Cougars scored well in the cross-country-style 3200 rankings from outdoor season, but none of their 2-7 returners jump out for individual improvement.  That means it will be the summer that determines the ceiling for this Apex team, in a year in which 4A is pretty wide open (with one major exception).

  Apex (NC)  
  1) Mihret Coulter   16:03.30 14
  2) Jordan Kokoska   16:33.00 57
  3) Carl Geiger   16:38.00 68
  4) Wyatt Miller   17:01.00 111
  5) Matt Sholtis   17:07.88 137
  Average Time: 16:40.64 Total Time: 1:23:23.18 1-5 Split: 1:04.58
  6) Spencer Colwell   17:24.29 198
  7) Jonathan Seith   17:26.61 206

 

#8: Providence

Another team with a legitimate 4A individual title candidate, in this case Wyatt Maxey, and another team with a solid pack behind that front-runner.  The Panthers return two sub-17 runners in that pack, however, which gives them a slight edge.  Providence showed strong improvement by ranking 5th in the team 3200 scoring during the spring, and Maxey had a great outdoor season.  The Panthers still need to develop their 4-7 runners over the summer.  The duels between Maxey and Ian Milder, who are friends, may parallel the battles between Mount Tabor and Providence, two very similar teams with identical goals: reach the top 5 in 4A.  Can they both get there?

 

  Providence (NC)  
  1) Wyatt Maxey   15:24.00 4
  2) Dylan Cohen   16:43.20 82
  3) Tanner Sutter   16:48.00 87
  4) Daniel Kim   17:07.81 136
  5) Mitchell Costa   17:15.00 156
  Average Time: 16:39.60 Total Time: 1:23:18.01 1-5 Split: 1:51.00
  6) Will Mcswain   17:33.62 235
  7) Sean Mccaffey   17:35.65 244

 

#9: Mount Tabor

Graduation may have hit the Spartans hard, but they still have a lot of talent back.  Ian Milder is the top returner in the state, and he backed it up by going 9:13 in the 3200 during track season.  That gives Mount Tabor the advantage of competing essentially 4-against-5 versus many teams, especially the pack-oriented teams that abound in 4A this year.  This team put a big emphasis on the 3200 all winter and spring, ranking 7th all-classes in the outdoor 3200 team scoring.  Brad Walter, in particular, has shown impressive improvement, going under 10 minutes and heralding a likely big drop in his 5K time.  Behind Milder, the Spartans have only 32 seconds separating their 2-7 runners from last fall, and that tendency toward running together could be a boost to their summer training.  This is the second-best program in the state overall the past 7 years, which is a clear sign that they can nurture talent from year to year.  Expecting this team to contend for a 4A team title is a little extreme, but there won't be a large drop off, and top 5 is definitely possible.

 

  Mount Tabor (NC)  
  1) Ian Milder   15:18.00 1
  2) Brad Walter   17:06.09 133
  3) Hendricks Stowe   17:09.00 142
  4) Michael Madden   17:12.20 150
  5) Phillip Jolly   17:16.00 162
  Average Time: 16:48.26 Total Time: 1:24:01.29 1-5 Split: 1:58.00
  6) Ian Foley   17:30.18 221
  7) Kenny Kneisel   17:38.00 255

 

#10: Chapel Hill

One of the strongest programs in the history of North Carolina cross country, not to mention the past 7 years, the Tigers are going to have to overcome some adversity this fall.  Graduation took away the team's top 3 runners from last season, and retirement claimed their long-time coach, Ron Olsen.  This is still a formidable team, though, and traditions like those at Chapel Hill don't pass away with the departure of a few people, no matter how important.  The Tigers have a formidable returning front 5, one that should show measurable improvement over the summer, and some solid depth.  Drew Roeber is likely to continue the string of Chapel Hill runners under 16 minutes, and Peter Williams might do the same.  Far from being down, this team should contend for the 3A state title again this year.

  Chapel Hill (NC)  
  1) Drew Roeber   16:11.07 22
  2) Peter Williams   16:16.00 29
  3) Collin Vilen   16:34.60 61
  4) Jeffrey Williams   17:15.00 159
  5) Max Blackburn   17:15.00 160
  Average Time: 16:42.33 Total Time: 1:23:31.67 1-5 Split: 1:03.93
  6) Sam Dunson   17:34.50 239
  7) Josh Hennen   17:56.73 323

 

#11: Green Hope

Another program that is regularly overshadowed by the opposite gender at the school, the Falcons are actually the 8th-best boys' program of the NCRunners Era.  This current squad features a developing front-runner in Tom Nobles, who ran 9:45 this spring to demonstrate continued improvement.  As a team, Green Hope was 9th-best all-classes in team 3200 scoring during outdoor season.  Behind Nobles, there is a miniscule :22 split between the 2nd and 7th returner, which means the Falcons have the rarest combination: a strong front-runner AND a tight pack.  That pack needs to shift forward, but if it does, this is a potential top-5 4A team.  

  Green Hope (NC)  
  1) Tom Nobles   15:59.20 12
  2) Brad Pehr   17:04.20 124
  3) Jonathan Bakley   17:05.88 130
  4) Henry Pehr   17:08.39 140
  5) William Jordan   17:12.60 151
  Average Time: 16:54.05 Total Time: 1:24:30.27 1-5 Split: 1:13.40
  6) Corey Colberg   17:17.11 169
  7) Michael Kolor   17:26.87 208

 

#12: Weddington

It's hard to keep this program down.  The Warriors lost 4 of last year's top 7 to graduation, but here they are just outside the all-classes top 10.  With a 1-5 split of 31 seconds and a remarkable 1-7 split of 34 seconds, this team will be able to overwhelm the middle part of most competitors with their depth.  It appears this squad may lack one Weddington signature of recent years: a top-10 individual.  On the other hand, Ryan Hobbs and Matthew Connor both ran 9:50 this spring, which puts them 5th and 6th among returning 3A runners.  Imagine if they improve into the 16:15 - 16:25 range, and also bring the rest of the Warrior pack with them!  One more sign of overall team improvement: Weddington ranked 7th in the team 3200 scoring during the winter, but improved to 4th during outdoor season.  Stack a good summer (common for this school) onto that progress, and you have a potential top-10 team.

  Weddington High School (NC)  
  1) Ryan Hobbs   16:52.00 95
  2) Brandon Dalla Rosa   16:52.07 96
  3) Matthew Conner   16:53.74 99
  4) Mitchell Resor   17:01.00 113
  5) Colton Jordan   17:23.08 196
  Average Time: 17:00.38 Total Time: 1:25:01.89 1-5 Split: 31.08
  6) Cameron Cogdell   17:26.00 203
  7) Alex Hazan   17:26.40 205

 

#13: Leesville Road

Although the disparity is not as bad as it has been in some other years, the Mideast is definitely still the strongest 4A region.  The top 2 teams in that region enter the season a little above the next three, which will have to battle for the remaining two spots in the state meet.  Leesville Road (along with yesterday's team, Millbrook) will be right in the thick of that battle.  This is the first team on the list to feature 4 sub-17 returners, and they can follow that with three more low-17 guys.  Talk about a strong pack: the Pride's 1-7 split is less than 1 minute!  The lack of a front-runner could hurt somewhat, although Carson Ellerby showed some signs of emerging in that role with his 4:27 1600 this spring (Lance Bullerwell and Anthony Strapp also had good times during outdoor season).  Right now, it's impossible to predict the last two teams to get out of the Mideast 4A; it will come down to summer training and race-day performance.

  Leesville Road (NC)  
  1) Lance Bullerwell   16:40.58 73
  2) Carson Ellerby   16:42.38 78
  3) Nick Boatman   16:51.30 93
  4) Anthony Strapp   16:57.44 106
  5) Alex Boatman   17:16.90 167
  Average Time: 16:53.72 Total Time: 1:24:28.60 1-5 Split: 36.32
  6) David Schuler   17:17.80 172
  7) Joshua De Joya   17:37.70 253

 

#14: Millbrook

Although they don't get much press, this has been one of the 25 best boys' programs in the state, all classifications, over the "NCRunners Era."  The Wildcats look to be very strong up front, with three runners that have a chance to break 16.  There is a significant gap back to their remaining runners after that, although the 4-7 runners are a relatively tight bunch.  Millbrook's success will depend heavily on the health of those top 3 runners, unless they are able to develop someone new to slot into the top 5.  Drew Navarro and Alex Boseman will lead the team, and they both had solid spring times; behind them, though, nothing really jumps out from their outdoor season.  Has Millbrook improved enough to stay in the top 10 in 4A, or did programs that had more track success leapfrog them?

  Millbrook (NC)  
  1) Drew Navarro   16:06.20 16
  2) Alex Boseman   16:15.68 28
  3) Nick Haven   16:21.50 36
  4) Delonte Nelson   17:18.20 174
  5) Tyler Trocinski   17:43.70 275
  Average Time: 16:45.06 Total Time: 1:23:45.28 1-5 Split: 1:37.50
  6) Trevor Davis   18:10.70 371
  7) Isaac Robinson   18:16.70 396

 

#15: North Lincoln

What happens when one of the best teams in the state loses two of its top 4 runners?  If the team is North Lincoln, then you rely on your top two returners, Andrew Fea and Ryan Shannon, both of whom had some excellent races during winter and spring track seasons.  Then, you hope that the next group of Knights steps up and improves your depth, allowing to meet a new challenge head-on.  That obstacle is a move to the 3A classification, which definitely ups the stakes quite a bit.  One final indication of this program's strength: their returning runners grade out as 5th-best in the new 3A alignment.  This team will be very hard-pressed to win it's third straight title, given the move up, but a top-5 finish would be an exceptional first year in their new classification.

  North Lincoln  
  1) Andrew Fea   16:09.84 24
  2) Ryan Shannon   16:23.00 45
  3) Lee Johnson   16:55.00 123
  4) Zach Wesson   17:13.07 193
  5) Jared Moore   17:48.44 386
  Average Time: 16:53.87 -- Total Time: 1:24:29.35 -- 1-5 Split: 1:38.60
  6) Riley Jones   18:06.00 490
  7) Nathan Anderson   18:07.00 497

 

#16: East Chapel Hill

The 2012 season didn't quite live up to very high expectations for the Wildcats, although it definitely did not go badly, as the team finished 8th in the 4A state meet.  One very big positive carries over from last fall: the emergence of Ryan Brady as a legitimate front-runner and potential individual champion.  He followed that up by running 9:28 this spring, and should be poised for a strong season.  Behind him East Chapel Hill has a solid three-man pack, but could benefit from some improvement among the depth runners.  It seems to be a numbers game for the Wildcats: the more runners you get out, the more likely you are to discover new talent.  Add one more quality runner to the top 5, and this team has an outside chance at being top 5.

  East Chapel Hill  
  1) Ryan Brady   15:32.00 6
  2) Graham Stopa   16:50.00 110
  3) Matt Ruston   16:51.95 113
  4) James Gildard   16:54.70 122
  5) Connor Mcdonald   17:55.00 421
  Average Time: 16:48.73 -- Total Time: 1:24:03.65 -- 1-5 Split: 2:23.00
  6) Ethan Ready   18:09.20 515
  7) Ted Resler   18:29.00 652

 

#17: Ardrey Kell

Remember these guys?  Although they fell back to 14th in the 4A state meet after reaching the top 5 in 2010 and 2011, this is a team that has been in the state meet every year since 2007.  Slightly eclipsed by the huge wave of talent that has come through on the girls' side,  the Knights nonetheless return 5 of their top 6 from last year's team.  Based on that fact and their consistency, you could project them to have a good chance at making the top 10 this year.  The lack of high-level production in the spring season is a bit worrisome: aside from Jason Port, who ran solid 3200 times, there didn't seem to be a lot of improvement.  Of course, this is one of many NC schools that place more emphasis on cross country than track, and so you can expect this Ardrey Kell squad to improve over the summer.

  Ardrey Kell  
  1) Ian Barclay   16:41.00 89
  2) Jason Port   16:51.00 111
  3) Harrisson Saint   17:01.69 143
  4) Dyllan Moss   17:18.15 221
  5) Chris Baulton   17:19.00 223
  Average Time: 17:02.17 -- Total Time: 1:25:10.84 -- 1-5 Split: 38.00
  6) Connor Fields   19:56.00 1206
  7) Trenor Philbin   20:11.80 1283

 

#18: East Rowan

It's hard to find anything not to like about this team.  They have a solid top runner with a strong pedigree, and they have an exceptionally tight 1-5 split.  They even have good depth behind that front 5, helping out in the case of injury or simply a bad race here or there.  Although they fall at 18 in these all-classes rankings, the Mustangs have an excellent chance to finish the season in the top 5 in the 3A state meet.  If you really want to get picky, they didn't produce any truly impressive times during track season.  Nobody can accuse them of inflated times from running at McAnderson Park this year, because those were entered as 3 miles instead of 5000 meters, and so they don't show up in the list below.  This is a program that has been consistently good during cross country season, and this is an experienced group of runners, and that's enough for East Rowan to have high expectations going into the fall.

  East Rowan  
  1) Conor Honeycutt   16:30.31 16
  2) Cal Meyers   16:43.00 26
  3) Justin Allen   17:08.68 47
  4) Jason Basso   17:14.00 50
  5) Jason Troutman   17:19.14 61
  Average Time: 16:59.03 -- Total Time: 1:24:55.13 -- 1-5 Split: 48.83
  6) Chance Brown   18:00.00 139
  7) Josh Rowell   18:08.00 158

 

#19: Jordan

This will be a very interesting team to watch.  They are very impressive up front with Nik Kreiling continuing to show signs of becoming a national-caliber runner (although he definitely needs to become more consistent).  Running mate Daniel Beamer has improved as well, and that should give the Falcons two sub-15:50 runners.  On the other hand, there is a big gap back to their 3rd runner, and another gap between 4 and 5.  There is depth, but this squad really needs to get better from 3 through 7 to contend at the state level.  Moving to the 4A Midwest Regional will help, as Jordan fits in well with the 3rd through 6th teams in that region, giving the team an easier path to the state meet.  This has to be the year if the Falcons want team success: 5 of the top 7 are seniors, including the two front-runners.

  Jordan  
  1) Nikolaus Kreiling   15:33.60 5
  2) Daniel Beamer   16:03.60 13
  3) Andrew Spencer   17:03.00 86
  4) Romel Garcia   17:20.00 133
  5) Michael Schreyack   18:02.52 236
  Average Time: 16:48.54 -- Total Time: 1:24:02.72 -- 1-5 Split: 2:28.92
  6) Mitchell Slentz   18:03.11 239
  7) Sam Long   18:07.20 249

 

#20: Marvin Ridge

Ever since they finished 4th in the NCHSAA 3A state meet last fall, the Mavericks have been somewhat quiet.  That's because they haven't had a standout individual distance runner on the track this year.  They do have two big positives, though: depth (returning 6 runners that went 11:00 or faster in the 3200) and leadership (four rising seniors among those 6).  It's not hard to see how one good summer, driven by seniors that are buying in and motivating the team, could tighten up their pack and propel this team to greater success than their current ranking might indicate.  It would not be wise to count the Marvin Ridge boys out when it comes to finishing in the top 5 in 3A; the last time they failed to do that was 2007, the year the school first opened.

  Marvin Ridge  
  1) Jake Blizzard   16:35.00 15
  2) Daniel Ferguson   16:37.00 16
  3) Zach Durand   17:05.48 34
  4) Charlie Laatsch   17:22.87 54
  5) Matt Carson   17:49.00 85
  Average Time: 17:05.87 -- Total Time: 1:25:29.35 -- 1-5 Split: 1:14.00
  6) Brian Callinan   17:55.80 98
  7) Roark Habegger   18:12.00 127

 

#21: Terry Sanford

It's sometimes hard to get a fix on the strength of teams in the greater Fayetteville area, because there are some flat, fast (and occasionally short) courses that can boost their times beyond what they could achieve on other courses.  One thing is for certain, though: Philip Hall can run.  This past spring, he won 4A individual titles in the 800 and 1600, and he will be the #35 returner in the nation in the 1600.  With his team moving to 3A this fall, Hall should challenge Tanis Baldwin for the individual title.  The Bulldog team behind him is deep, and from 2-7 they are split by only 36 seconds.  Terry Sanford would rank among the top 5 returning 3A teams going into this season, although they will need to get some boys under 17 to contend for the 3A team championship.  This year's squad will also have to shake off a long history of teams from their area underperforming at the state meet (with one notable exception).

Terry Sanford  
  1) Philip Hall   15:40.00 10
  2) Patrick Arata   17:06.00 162
  3) Noah Blashford   17:06.00 163
  4) William A. Kumi   17:20.00 231
  5) Tyler Ortiz   17:33.00 303
  Average Time: 16:57.00 -- Total Time: 1:24:45.00 -- 1-5 Split: 1:53.00
  6) Luis Remigio   17:34.00 309
  7) Michael Martinez   17:40.00 352

 

#22: Pine Forest

South View coach Jesse Autry told me almost two years ago. "Watch out for Pine Forest, that's a program on the rise!"  Though it took a little while for the Trojans to show it on the state level, he was right (as evidenced by their 7:50 in the 4x800 this spring).  If they can carry that momentum over to a strong summer, this team should make the state meet (although that won't be easy).  800 success doesn't always translate to cross country, however, and Pine Forest does need to cultivate depth and get their 4-7 runners to tighten up on the top three.  That makes this squad a real wild card for the upcoming season, with the possibility of sneaking into the top 10 at the 4A state meet just as likely as getting left out entirely.  It will be interesting to see how things turn out in the resurgent 4A East Region, which has now become quite competitive after some down years.

  Pine Forest  
  1) Walter Johnson   16:31.00 62
  2) Dakota Schaub   16:48.00 105
  3) Sam Maxfield   16:49.00 107
  4) Peyton Smith   17:40.00 351
  5) Nate Leahy   17:44.00 365
  Average Time: 17:06.40 -- Total Time: 1:25:32.00 -- 1-5 Split: 1:13.00
  6) Jerry Shank   17:58.00 445
  7) Aaron Sennabaum   18:26.00 635

 

#23: Cary Academy

Although this school has been better known for individual success over the past several years, the team has done well at the NCISAA 3A level.  This is a veteran squad (three seniors and two juniors among the top 7), and if that leadership leads to a strong summer of training, the Chargers could be a contender this fall.  Josh Mitchell showed signs of developing into a star last fall, although his track season was a bit underwhelming.  If Mitchell emerges as a threat to run top 3 at his state meet this year, then things could come together for Cary Academy; if he doesn't get there until his senior year, though, it could be a year too late.

  Cary Academy  
  1) Josh Mitchell   16:10.14 25
  2) Sam Russell   16:46.08 104
  3) Coleman Mitchell   17:03.11 149
  4) Alex Stephenson   17:35.50 319
  5) Thomas Marshall   17:46.80 375
  Average Time: 17:04.33 -- Total Time: 1:25:21.63 -- 1-5 Split: 1:36.66
  6) Tylor Moore   18:31.10 669
  7) Leighton Boiar   18:33.30 681

 

#24: Lake Norman Charter

The last 3 years have been somewhat frustrating for the Knights: although they have been a very strong program, they have finished third, second, and second again in the the 1A state meet.  This year's squad would like nothing more than to break through and win a state title, but a move to 2A could get in the way.  LNCS returns a balanced team with a strong top 5 and solid depth.  As an added bonus, the Knights have a tandem of #1-caliber runners, which should alleviate the burden of having to lead the team and set the pace every single race.

Lake Norman Charter School  
  1) Matthew Panza   16:34.11 72
  2) Nathan Kemper   16:39.75 86
  3) Sean Kenney   17:19.47 228
  4) Sean Powers   17:21.00 236
  5) Keaton Cooper   17:37.49 332
  Average Time: 17:06.36 -- Total Time: 1:25:31.82 -- 1-5 Split: 1:03.38
  6) Andrew Swift   17:38.19 340
  7) Zach Stephens   17:48.58 387

 

#25: Watauga

It is almost the exact same story for the Pioneer boys as it was for the girls: the graduation of a very strong senior class, coupled with a shake-up in the coaching staff, could make this a bit of a rebuilding year.  There is young talent, however, as only two of the top 7 returners are seniors this fall, and Watauga has a potential individual star developing in Michael Holland.  This team ranks third in the 4A West coming into the season, and taking this many returners to the state meet would be an excellent step back toward the top 10 in 2014.

  Watauga  
  1) Michael Holland   16:26.00 51
  2) Matt Osborne   17:08.18 174
  3) Drew Boyette   17:11.00 186
  4) Will Vandenberg   17:15.00 199
  5) Jacob Soule   17:50.00 400
  Average Time: 17:10.04 -- Total Time: 1:25:50.18 -- 1-5 Split: 1:24.00
  6) Zack Styron   18:01.00 464
  7) Joe Wiswell   18:26.00 634
 

 

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