Teams from the 4A East regional and the Sandhills area got ready for their postseason with a race on a hilly course.
It must have been a neat experience to start the race in the same location that thoroughbred horses race, with such a wide straight to begin the course. As the runners approached the 1-mile mark, the individual race was far from clear, as there was still a large group together at the front. Beckett Killam (Pinecrest) led the tight first pack, with Ben Powell (Jack Britt) on his heels. Next came Will Pearson and Matt Harmody of Pinecrest, with George Webb (New Hanover) and Ashley teammates Brien Lancaster and Joseph Harty also right in the mix. Three more Pinecrest runners followed, establishing the Patriots as the clear leaders early on.
The Carolina Horse Park course is one giant loop, and by the time the runners had returned to complete their circuit of the horse track, the race had strung out quite a bit. Chris Kelly, who had been 5th for Pinecrest and 9th overall at the mile mark, had taken command of the race and brought home the win. Kelly's time of 17:06.80 reflects the difficulty of the hilly course. Webb finished second, holding off Lancaster, while Killam and Harmody came in practically shoulder-to-shoulder soon after. Pinecrest dominated in the team scores, followed by South View, who had their entire top 5 within 10 seconds of each other.
After another wide-open start, it was April Sherlin (Overhills) that approached the mile mark in first place, with Abby Verchick (Union Pines) tracking her. The first main group contained Jaleigh Jensen, Jennie Cunningham, and Sarah Pressley of Pinecrest, plus Lavinia Cotto and Kate Sanborn of Jack Britt.
The sun and the hills took a toll on the leaders, and when the returned to the track the order had been shaken up quite a bit. Cotto was way out in front, and she brought home the win in 20:18. She was followed by Jensen and then by Katie Lacamera (Terry Sanford), who had been in 8th early in the race. Pinecrest took home the team trophy, defeating Hoggard 48-78, with Jack Britt in at 79 points for third.