Anna Bristle (Parkwood) and Marshall Williamson (Myers Park) each set new state leads at the Royals Twilight at Freedom Park on Saturday Night. Both set PRs of 17:45 and 15:18 respectively surprising North Carolina XC fans to see new names at the top of the state leaderboards Sunday morning.
The Queens University meet management measured the course at 4950 meters prior to the race, which in reality is in the normal range of what's considered a 5K in XC. The course is completely flat, I believe it's around numerous soccer fields, with no hills whatsoever. The course was also in perfect night time temperature that many athletes experienced at Friday Night Lights. The following day coaches wheeled the course and got 4950, 4944 then 4929 when hugging the turns completely.
While the course is indeed short, I don't think it's significant distance compared to other courses being short. Jackson Park (Hendersonville, NC) is about the same distance, but a slower course due to lots of hills. If you look at Bristle and Williamson's track PRs from last fall the performances wouldn't surprise you as much. Williamson ran 9:27 for 3200 while Bristle ran 5:02 for 1600, so I can't say those performances specifically surprised me as both have proven to be some of the top individuals in North Carolina.
I'll keep an eye on athletes from Royals Twilights performances and if the results prove to be a massive outlier in our rankings then I'll change the distance to a 3 mile, but coaches from the meet believe it's just a fast course as we see in the old McAlpine course and currently a WakeMed. Coaches, feel free to discuss this below in the comments if you have concerns with the times remaining in the rankings for the time being, or think of something I haven't considered!