Dubin, Kirby leads Rams to county titles

ASHEVILLE — The mud caked all over Caroline Kirby's ankles and feet could hinder the Roberson junior only so much.

Using compact strides, Kirby conquered the rest of the field and a waterlogged course Wednesday to win the Buncombe County cross country meet in a time of 20 minutes, 23 seconds.

"It feels really great, especially since the conditions weren't very good," Kirby said."

Kirby, who shadowed Carolina Day senior Marley Burns (second place, 20:40) for the first two miles around Asheville School's campus, threw in a surge over the final third of the race.

Three more Rams — Stephanie Chapman (third place, 21:11), Kristin Brock (fourth place, 21:19) and Zoe Dubin (seventh place, 21:34) — earned all-county honors along with Enka's Jordan Gaddy (fifth place, 21:23) and Asheville High's Cara Haynes (sixth place, 21:25).

As a team, Roberson (23 points) easily beat runner-up Enka (81).

Roberson's Josh Dubin and Asheville's Andrew North separated themselves early in the boys race, and Dubin eventually pulled away to win in 16:45. Dubin's time was 24 seconds faster than what former Asheville School runner Nathaniel Smith ran in 2004, the last time the Buncombe meet was held on the Blues' home course.

Carolina Day's Davis Graham (17:02) placed second behind Dubin and just ahead of North (17:08).

The Rams edged Asheville, 48-55, to win the team championship.

"(North) and I usually work together and try to trade the lead whenever we race," Dubin said.

Christ School's Rett English (fourth place, 17:37), Asheville's Isaac Presson (fifth place, 17:49) and John Harwell (sixth place, 17:51), and Roberson's Josh Pickett (seventh place, 18:01) also earned all-county recognition.