Jungle Run Recap: Stars Emerge As Chapel Hill Girls, Broughton Boys Smoke The Competition


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Race Video & Interviews

Girls Championship

The girls were underway and immediately heading into the first turn where all the teams merge together you could count 8 Chapel Hill girls in the front of everyone else lead by pre-race favorite Katherine Dokholyan.  Through the first loop around the South View practice fields Chapel Hill still remained a strong presence up front as Dokholyan established herself in front of the rest of the field up front.

As the girls finished their initial loop on the practice fields Dokholyan had a challenger in frosh Makayla Obremski (Topsail) who took the lead heading into the track, surprising Dokholyan.   Obremski pushed the pace for a little while, but when there was a mile to go Dokholyan retook the lead a whipped around the track to the finish line in 18:47!  Obremski clocked her first sub 19 performance of her career with an impressive 18:58 taking 2nd place.  

Madi Marvin (Chapel Hill) had a strong showing taking 3rd overall running 19:06 setting a new PR in her senior season debut.  Ava Lathan (Cary Academy) battled after being behind earlier in the race and clocked 19:18.  Lilly Crook (Chapel Hill) and Maggie Springer (Chapel Hill) also had really strong performances setting new PRs of 19:24 and 19:26.  Freshman Paxton Chitty (Ashley) posted another strong performance taking 7th overall against the strongest HS field she's seen this year.  

As a team Chapel Hill girls displayed dominance over their competitors placing 6 girls at 19:32 or faster with all 6 finishing in the top 10.  These girls looked really confident knowing that their place to be in a race is at the front.  The Tigers scored an impressive 19 team points against so strong teams with a 40 second gap from 1-5 and a 19:13 average.  They're the third 3A team to make a big statement early in the cross country season along with Weddington and Cuthbertson.  This three way team title battle looks to be one of the states best in recent years, though it's still a long ways away.

Broughton girls impressed me as well posting a 20 second 1 through 5 gap scoring 75 points as a team with their 5th girl taking 22nd overall.  I think the Capitals certainly took steps forward here beating their new 4A East rival Hoggard.  South View girls lived up to my expectations I had from them at the beginning of the season and took 3rd ahead of Hoggard and Topsail.  South View was lead by a 10th & 11th place finish from Kodi Payne and Faith Roy in 19:34 and 19:37.

Boys Championship

The boys race went off as the sun had set in Hope Mills, NC and the pace was out hot.  There was one athletes who pushed the pace around the practice fields while the rest of the field was happy to sit behind and focus on their own pace.  John Tatter (R.J. Reynolds), Ben Verchick (Union Pines) and a Broughton contingent lead by Ryan Brown sat up front waiting for someone to make a move.  As they continued around the practice field through about a mile and a half Tatter and Brown broke off with Verchick in chase.  A big group of Broughton athletes including J.J. Malach, Jack Rooney, Jacob Wells and Michael Rooney were in chase with a group of Chapel Hill athletes not too far back.  

Tatter went through 2 miles with Brown and Verchick and then began to pick up the pace.  They trio had clocked about 5 minute pace through the first two miles of the race.  Tatter took over control of the race and was able to push it through the line in 15:27, 3 seconds off of his PR.  Verchick had a big breakthrough getting ahead of Brown to take 2nd in 15:44.  Brown set a new PR in 3rd clocking 15:50 in a strong start to his senior year.   Jamie Witmer (Hoggard) was battling with Broughton's Malach, Rooney and Wells for 4th place and was able to edge Malach at the line in 15:55.

Malach and Rooney posted the fastest two times for sophomores in NC so far this season at 15:55 and 15:58, around a minute PR for both.  The Capital's needed someone to step up, and these dudes crushed in their first 5K of 2017.  Jacob Wells was not too far behind taking 7th in 16:02.

#2 Broughton was very impressive scoring 32 team points and beating Flo50 #4 Chapel Hill by 36 points.  Michael Rooney was 11th overall running 16:11 giving the Capitals a :21 second 1-5 split and a 16:00 average in their first race of the season.  This performance solidifies the Capital's at #2 in our Flo50 rankings, and though Green Hope hasn't raced yet and still look to be a beast, the Capital's certainly showed they weren't going to make it easy on them this fall.  

Despite losing to Broughton, Chapel Hill was still very impressive and performed better than the virtual meet predicted.  They had 5 in the top 17 lead by a 8th place finish from Ryan Combs who clocked a PR of 16:04.  Their top 5 all PRed as well with a big day from freshman Ben Hawley running as the Tiger's 5th man.  Even though they took 2nd in this race I think the Tigers showed they're going to be much better than last fall and will be ready to defend their NCHSAA 3A Team title.  R.J. Reynolds was able to take down Hoggard for 3rd place behind strong days from Tatter and sophomore Jack Holbrook.

Invitational Race Observations

  • Zoe Vestal (Cary Christian) has put in a massive summer running a 2 minute PR of 19:30 winning the girls invitational race.  Vestal has asserted herself into the mix for a NCISAA 2A individual title.
  • Caitlyn Burkett (Franklin Academy) was second for the second year in a row in this race, but was 16 seconds faster than last fall.  She looked strong showing she's eyeing the NCHSAA 1A crown that escaped her last fall.
  • Victoria Swepson (Research Triangle) led he race early on pushing the pace, but didn't finish.  Hopefully she's ok and ready to run fast this fall.
  • Durham School of the Arts are going to have a massive top 3 on the 2A scene this fall after a 1-3 finish from Ethan Barber and Sam Bloodworth.  They were missing Ben Kearsley who fell on a stake in a midweek meet giving him a massive gash on his leg.  Once they add him back they could be a top 2A team this fall.
  • Franklin Academy boys look to be the NCHSAA 1A team favorites after finishing 7-9-10-14 in the Invitational race.  They're going to need a 5th though as their 1-4 gap was only 17 seconds, but their 5th was 1:43 seconds back.