Elijah Inuwah (Central Academy of Technology) is one of many athletes looking forward to competing for a state title without 3A athletes in the way.
Gevontae Hardy and Brandon Gambrell could be leading North Forsyth back to glory after a long period of middling results.
Mecklenburg County rules the 3A classification, while Catawba County is a hotbed for talent in the smaller classes.
Is this the year that Parkland's girls finally break through for the team title? Returning rankings give them a solid chance.
Pre-meet team rankings and preview for the 2013 Nike Cross Southeast Regionals by Brandon Miles of MileStat.com, a MileSplit US affiliate. A list of the top 10 ranked teams going into this meet which are competing at WakeMed Soccer Complex in Cary, North Carolina. Rankings took in consideration several factors to determine order including state meet performances, head-to-head matchups, speed ratings, history of team's post-season performances in past years, and projecting a team score based on their team's runners and displacers from others.
You might have guessed that Wake County tops 2 of the 8 races, but so does a county you might not expect. Hint: both of these runners go to school there...
Since she won the 1600 and 1000 at last year's indoor meet, Blake Dodge has gotten faster. Much faster.
Fike's Ian West is the top returning vaulter in the state, and his outdoor best puts him among the top 50 returners in the nation.
Isaiah Moore (Cummings) finished last winter as one of the top returners in the nation, and he has picked up right from there.
Coleman Mitchell has a 5K time that many high school seniors would love to have, and he still has 4 years to improve it.
En route to winning a 5th straight title, Green Hope's girls fielded three freshmen - and no seniors.
Seventh-graders range from beginners to experienced varsity runners, depending on their background and school.
The defending champions look strong again next year, and will get an additional boost from a rising 9th-grader.
Comparing our middle-school runners is more difficult because there isn't a standard distance around the state.
Not only did the Weddington boys break through for a title this year, but they did it with a relatively young team.
This list contains many future stars of our sport, but there are others not on the list that will still become top runners.
The 2A West is rising - first the East Lincoln girls won a title, and now the Shelby boys have a year to make the next step.
The top 10th-graders still have two years to improve, though experience tells us that some won't be in the final 2016 senior rankings.
Both defending 2A champion teams are built for the long haul, setting up the possibility of double repeats next fall.
Next year's seniors are stars already, which means we could be in store for a tremendous season for individual runners.
The top three boys teams from 2013 lose a grand total of one runner to graduation, setting up a rematch next fall.
Look back on the top performances by seniors over the entire fall cross country season.
(Bad fall at the state meet) + (Young team) = Lots of unfinished business and motivation for the South View boys.
Elly Henes lifted her team to a state championship and the top spot in the final rankings, while jumping up to #4 herself.
These two champions, one current and one former, pushed each other to the top times in the classification when it mattered most.
With all of the fanfare surrounding the NCHSAA state meet, let's not forget about Ben Huffman and his postseason goals.
Carrboro's Maysa Araba, spurred on by great competition, claimed the top spot in the rankings.
Kayla Holder's solo performance at the NCISAA state meet vaulted her to the top of her classification's rankings.
Though she is a junior and has been running at a high level for years, Malia Ellington just claimed her first cross country state title.
There is absolutely no debate as to which girl is tops in the state, but the battle for #1 in the boys rankings will continue.
All that purple and black should leave no doubt about the state's best boys team, but how did the stats fall for the girls' teams?
Along with a great race by Elly Henes, it was the depth of Green Hope that propelled them to a fifth straight team title.
Philip Hall (Terry Sanford) won his duel with Tanis Baldwin (East Henderson) and claimed the course record with the day's best time.
The runners of Bishop McGuinness have become Villains to all the 1A competition, and they're looking to sweep both titles Saturday.
Zach Boone (Mitchell) returns to Beeson Park, where he had a courageous performance last fall, this time in pursuit of an individual title.
If the Carrboro girls can defend their title again this year, facing stronger competition than ever, it will be especially impressive.
Even though they have moved up to 2A, Science & Math is still a contender for a state title, and they have an individual contender too.
Along with their explosive leader, this tightly packed group of young Mavericks wants to take down the three-time champs.
After finishing third in the last two state meets, is this the year that Weddington breaks through for a 3A championship?
If Providence can prevent a 5th straight title for Green Hope, it will be because of depth runners like Kayla Glova, the fastest #3 in the state.
These two evenly-matched teams are set to battle...while looking over their shoulders at several strong challengers.
Six of Broughton's top 7 had their season best at the regional meet. The only question that remains is, which uniforms will they wear at the state meet?
Though they've been relatively quiet over the last month, the Cardinal Gibbons girls showed yesterday that they are peaking at the right time.
Franklin's boys moved one step closer to challenging for a title, but they still have some ground to make up on the #1 team.
Carly Kreber and her Bishop McGuinness team had the fastest times this past weekend, and on the state meet course no less.
Thanks to depth and talent, including #2 man Nick Linder, the Providence Day boys are heavily favored to win a 3A state title.
These runners not only want to claim their regional crown, but also have an eye on top-ranked Kayla Montgomery and Patrick Sheehan.
After a low-key conference meet, Pinecrest's boys face a tough challenge in their regional, as they gear up for the state meet.
Two of these runners already have cross country state titles, and the other two want to add one to their track championships.
A year after winning their second-straight 2A championship, can the Knights of North Lincoln contend for a 3A title?
If you don't know these two runners yet, you haven't been paying attention - maybe you'll notice if they lead their squads to regional titles.
Croatan's girls are the class of the East, strong enough to dominate there; how will they stack up against the rest of the state?
Will these three, and many others, live up to their seeding when the regional meets start on Saturday morning?
Malia Ellington and Chris O'Brien will try to lead their teams to championships in very competitive regionals.
Nick Linder and his Providence Day teammates vaulted up the rankings with a strong performance at the CISAA championship.
Josh Mitchell and his Cary Academy teammates enter as the favorite in the boys race, while the girls' race should be close.
(Photos by John Olson) Mount Tabor has the top two individuals; can they also bring home two team titles, as they have so many times before?
Green Hope seeks a fifth-straight 4A title, but the competition is as close as ever before, setting the stage for an exciting state meet.
Collin Vilen and Chapel Hill have yet to put everything together on the same day; if they do, they have a chance to win a 3A title.
The girls batlle is shaping up to be very exciting, with Ravenscroft currently holding a narrow lead over two rivals.
When you consider how much Carrboro lost to graduation, it's impressive to see Maysa Araba and her teammates back in the top spot.
They're not a Charter. They're not an Academy. They ARE legitimate contenders for the 1A state title, with Madison Daniel leading.
Alex Dolwick and his Grace Christian teammates are gunning for a repeat, but they are far from being certain winners.
For the first time since well before the Webmaster George era, girls in a different shade of green occupy the top spot.
US #11 in the Saucony Elite 50, US #2 in the MileSplit database, and a season-long fixture at #1 in the North Carolina rankings.
The best perfomances from the past week, including Tim Coffey's quick run at the United Way Invitational.
Great depth for a 3A team? No. Cardinal Gibbons' program has great depth for any team of any classification.
Isabel Perry gets cheered on by her Broughton teammates as she leads the JV squad in a race earlier this season.
Elly Henes and her teammates form the best young girls' team in the state, but can you guess who has the best batch of 9th- and 10th-grade boys?
If you're a fan of cross country, then your cup runneth over this year - with 9th-graders like Alexa King, we'll have stars in NC for years.
Sophie Ebihara has continued the high level of success that she began with an impressive freshman season.
Both Sara Platek and the cooler weather return to Beeson Park this weekend, and that combination could make for fast times.
Ryen Frazier and Eliza Dekker top the girls' list, representing a very strong rising senior class for the 2014 season.
Consider Ben Huffman as the co-leader in these rankings, as his race in the heat at WakeMed was very impressive.
The award for the biggest leap forward for a championship runner goes to Patrick Sheehan, who dropped 22 seconds off his PR.
Kayla Montgomery took over the top spot in the rankings with a gutty performance in the heat at McAlpine.
The Brentwood TN boys made a big statement about their front-running strength and their postseason goals.
The Myers Park girls had arguably the most impressive team performance from a giant weekend of cross country in North Carolina.
Kayla Montgomery returns to McAlpine with many goals, and one of them might be reasserting her candidacy for best scholastic runner in NC.