NCISAA State Champions are Crowned

Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, NC was expected to get rain all day on Friday . . . and it did. The girls and boys 2A races were run at 10:00 and 10:40, the 3A's at 1:00 and 1:40, then the 1A's took to the course at 3:00 and 3:40.

The 2A races were a bit lucky in the morning, as the rain had not begun its constant barrage on the Tanglewood course. Right after the 2A had received their medals and trophies, the rain and began and then never let up.

"I was amazed at how quickly the course changed. There were at least 5 spots on the loop where people were slipping, sliding, and falling," said a spectator.

So, on a day where times don't really matter anyway, it became more obvious that that was the case with the conditions of the course.

For complete results go the the NCISAA Championships homepage.

3A Girls Race

Prior to the race it looked as if it were going to be a tight battle between 3 schools for the state title, Cary Academy, Providence Day, & Forsyth Country Day. As the race began, all three schools got out well to the woods. However, after the first 1000m, it was evident which team was really going after the title. Forsyth Country Day's young team (led by 2 8th graders) looked very poised and ran extemely aggressive as they covered the 5k course at Tanglewood. Emily Branch, FCDS' #1 runner all season ran well, but probably not was she was hoping for, finishing 11th. Stepping up to lead the way, were 8th graders, Elizabeth Lang(7th) & Hollis Lineberger(8th), who ran much faster on the sloppy course than they did 2 weeks ago at the Tanglewood Invitational. Finishing 4th for them was freshman, Samantha Gould(18th) & rounding out their scoring was 7th grader, Sarah Allen(23rd). As you can see, quite a team returning next year!

Cary Academy placed 2nd putting 3 girls in the top 11. Rachel Park led the way for them with her 3rd place finish. Then came Ivana Zelov in 9th and Danielle Curran in 10th. Cary Academy will also be strong again next year as they return 5 of their top 7 from Friday's race.

Providence Day's girls finished in 3rd. It was a tough day for the pre-race favorite Jill Yandle. Jill fell twice during the race and could never get back into it mentally. PD also returns 5 of their top 7 from the race.

Finally, Cannon School who finished 4th, was led by Stephanie Schauder, and 8th grader. Look for them to be tough next in their 2nd year of 3A competition as they return their entire top 7.

Adrianne Soo, of Durham Academy, ran away from the field the 2nd half of the race. Adrianne's race was a surprise to everyone except coach Dennis Cullen. Coach Cullen said that Soo has been battling some health issues this year, but was recently beginning to feel much stronger. Well, I would say so, Soo's 19:28 was very impressive considering the conditions of the course.

Catherine Seaborn of Charlotte Christian, another surprise, moved up through the field during the final mile to claim 2nd place. Seaborn was 3rd in the CISAA race, but stepped up and ran her most outstanding race ever to claim the runner-up spot.

3A Boys

The boys race had a more clear cut team favorite in Providence Day School. However, after PD, it looked like a number of schools could be in the running for the runner-up spot.

Providence Day's boys won their 2nd consecutive title and proved they were heads above the rest in the NCISAA this season as they placed 5 guys onto the All-State team (top 11) and 6 guys in the top 13. Junior, Clay Sankey, who has led this team all season did it once again, as he finished 2nd in the race. Fellow junior, Wyatt Freeman, was 3rd in the race after finishing 17th last year at the state championships. The next two athletes for PD were also juniors, Preston Lennon(6th) and Ehsan Akbari(8th). The only senior in the top 5 for PD was Jacob Stern who finished 11th. Providence Day's boys look to be the obvious favortie to repeat again next year as they return 5 guys who finished in the top 13 yesterday. Jack Oldham who placed 13th is also a junior at PD. Providence Day scored 30 points while 2nd place Cary Academy scored 118. The 88 point magin of the victory is the largest in NCISAA history!

Cary Academy, who was led by sophomore David Dement's 9th place finish, won the runner-up award. On paper going into the race, CA didn't seem to be the 2nd best team, however, they stepped up and ran very well to earn their high finish. Cary Academy returns 5 of their top 6 for next year.

Charlotte Latin finished 3 points back from Cary Academy in 3rd place. Latin was led by senior, Ryan Marklewitz, who finished 16th overall. Latin returns 4 of their top 7 runners.

Finally, FCDS finished in 4th place. Senior, Steven Holland led the Furies with his 7th place finish. Look out for freshman, Taylor Boone. Taylor was FCDS' #2 runner and the top 9th grader in the race, finishing 12th.

Christ School's Rett English waited until the 1st time up the hill to take the lead. Rett slowly put distance bewtween himself and PD's Clay Sankey. By the end, it was a decisive win for the new 3A NCISAA state champ. Rett finished 1 sec. behind Sankey at last year's state meet, but had a very successful track season. He was definitely a favorite going into the race. Rett's 16:38 is a new PR and it was done on a day and course that wasn't made for fast times.

2A Girls

The question was, "Will Carolina Day have a full team?" Often this season, for various reasons, Carolina Day's girls didn't have enough girls to score in meets. This was not the case on Friday, as they ran at full strength. Marley Burns, as expected, captured the individual state title. Her time of 19:14 wasn't as fast as 2 weeks ago when she ran 18:52 on the same course, but she didn't have competition this time around. Her closest competitor was her own teammate, freshman Eirann Cohen. Eirann has really come on towards the end of the season. Her time of 19:46 was faster than 2 weeks ago on the same course. After the two of them came in, it was a waiting game. Luckily for them, they didn't have to wait too long for their 3rd runner. Rebecca Griffin finished 5th overall in the 2A race. Their 4th and 5th runners came in at 17th and 23rd. They were Melissa Garrett and 7th grader, Anzhela Bozeman.

Fayetteville Academy, who is new to the XC scene for girls, finished in 2nd place. They were led by 8th grader Laura Floyd who finished 7th overall. Susanna Long joined her on the All-State team.

Asheville Chrisitan, who finished in 3rd place, also had 2 girls in the top 11. Kelly Gilikin and Tori Lovett both received All-State honors.

Westminister Catawba 9th grader, Caitlin Selle, ran 20:17 to finish in 3rd place behind the 2 Carolina Day runners. Look for good things out of her in the future. Especially with Coach Blackmon (father of Angela, Tiayonna, & 7th grade phenom Mark) at the helm.

2A Boys

Like the girl's race. It was all Carolina Day red at the front. Davis Graham, the top NCISAA this year regardless of classification, ran away from Michael Branagan of Gaston Christian during the 2nd mile. Davis, who has broken 16:00 this season, was the heavy favorite to win and he did just that. After the mile, Davis ran alone the rest of the way.

Michael Branagan, who has also run quite well this year, didn't want to hand Davis the title without a fight. Branagan actually pressed the pace early on, despite his early fall. When I say early fall, I mean prior to the race. While making his way to the starting line, Michael took a nasty dive and banged up his knee pretty badly. He still ran a very respectable time of 17:10 on the soggy course.

Finishing in 3rd, and making a huge improvement from his time on the same course 2 weeks ago, was Ben Pugh of Covenant Day. Ben improved his time by over 45 seconds!

Fayetteville Academy looked strong from the gun, as they were definitely on a mission to win the 2A state title. They were led by 11th grader Andrew Cameron who finished in 4th place. Joining him on the All-State team was 9th grader James Dawson (9th) & senior, Stewart Harsant. Fayetteville Academy placed their top 5 in teh top 19 to easily take the title.

There were times during the race when it looked as if the team battle was closer, but in the end they prevailed over 2nd place Carolina Day & 3rd place, Asheville Christian.

Carolina Day's Eric Edgerton helped Davis Graham pace the team to a 2nd place team finish. Eric placed 6th in the meet and made the All-State team. Their 3rd runner, Will Jordan, also made the All-State team with his 11th finish.

1A Girls

With movement from some of last year's 1A teams up to the 2A division, and a small number to teams having 5 runners to score, there were only 5 schools competing for the 1A girl title.

Shannon Forest won easily as they placed 6 girls in the top 15. They had 4 All-State runners, including the individual champion. There were as follows: 8th grader Catherine Funk, senior Katelyn Conover, 7th grader Emily Sanders, and 8th grader Brittany Troka.

Gaston Day also had a good day as they placed their to 5 in the top 16, with 3 girls in the top 11. Catherine Nelson(6th), Anna Jones(10th), & Mary Hood(11th) all made the 1A All-State team.

1A Girls

Like the girls, there were only 5 teams competing for the state title. The 1A boys was the last race of the day, so one can imagine how nasty the course was. They ran at 3:40 and the rain hadn't let up since 12:00.

Cresset Christian won the boy's race as easily as Shannon Forest won the girls. Cresset placed their top 5 boys in the top 10 run away with the 1A state title. Senior, Beau Guidry, won the race for Cresset in a time of 18:51, just 3 seconds ahead of 9th grader William Carstarphen from Gaston Day. Cresset then took 3rd, 4th, 7th, & 10th. Michael Cannady, Dhugie Adams, Jon Stallings, & Stuart Guidry each made the All-State team for Cresset.

Shannon Forest's boys team joined their girls, as they took home some hardware. The boys finished 2nd to Cresset Christian and placed 3 runners in the top 9. Chris Tate(6th), Andrew Holmes(8th), and Tim Tate(9th) all made the NCISAA All-State team.