Great Outdoor Provision Co. Weekend 12 Preview

The first gun fires at 10:00 Saturday, starting off a day filled with some of the most exciting battles in recent memory.

 

NCHSAA State Championships (Beeson Park, Kernersville)

Schedule (Morning Session)

  • 10:00 - 3A Boys

  • 10:30 - 1A Boys

  • 11:00 - 3A Girls

  • 11:30 - 1A Girls

Schedule (Afternoon Session)

  • 3:00 - 4A Boys

  • 3:30 - 2A Boys

  • 4:00 - 4A Girls

  • 4:30 - 2A Girls

Previews

  • 4A Boys (Virtual Meet) - The top team is pretty clear, and the Broughton Caps may not have even shown their full strength yet; expect them to run together near the front from the start, with William Roberson potentially breaking away from his teammates late to try to challenge for the individual title.  Behind Broughton, though, there should be a tremendous team battle for the silver trophy, with Pinecrest and Mount Tabor appearing to have the best opportunities.  Lurking just behind will be RJ Reynolds, Apex, and South View, and any of those three teams could move all the way up to second with a strong race (and perhaps an off-day from one or two of the teams in front of them).  In other words, this will all come down to who races well on Saturday, and that makes for an exciting finish!  Individually, Patrick Sheehan has to be considered the favorite as long as a nagging calf injury doesn't hold him back (he ran conservatively at the regional but felt well afterward), although there are certainly some serious challengers: Wyatt Maxey (Providence) and Ian Milder (Mount Tabor) are both capable of winning with a strong race.  I think the pace will be fast if course conditions allow, as Sheehan and Milder seek to burn out Maxey's superior kicking ability, and there is a chance that the course record of 15:13 will fall (all three have run faster than that this season).  Expect Roberson, Mihret Coulter (Apex), and Ryan Brady (East Chapel Hill) to try to keep pace with the front three, although they could end up in a second pack by the end of the race, and don't be surprised if Nik Kreiling (Jordan) is in there, as well.

  • 4A Girls (Virtual Meet) - Kayla Montgomery (Mount Tabor) already owns the second-fastest time ever run on this course, set last weekend at her regional.  Now, she sets her sights on a dual goal: the individual title, and the course record (which would be a 6-second improvement over her PR).  On the first count, she has already defeated every individual contender, and is running with justified confidence lately.  Teammates Grace Sullivan and Bianca Bishop (Providence) will definitely push Montgomery, as will Sydney Foreman (Ardrey Kell); those three ran in the low 17:40's last weekend at McAlpine, though we know that Beeson Park is a little more challenging time-wise.  Lily Anderson (TC Roberson), Sara Platek (Ragsdale), and Rebekah Greengrass (Panther Creek) have all been under 18 minutes this season, and it's not hard to envision any of the three sticking with the lead pack for a breakout race.  In addition to the individual fireworks, we could be treated to one of the best team competitions that this classification has produced in a while.  Green Hope is the 4-time defending champion and has to be considered the favorite until defeated, despite what the statistical rankings might say.  Providence had emerged as a legitimate contender, but an unfortunate injury to one of their top 5 runners this week may have dampened those hopes.  Lurking is Myers Park, a team that didn't run its best at the regional but has shown the ability to beat anyone this year.  T.C. Roberson has emerged as a contending team with a few strong races recently, although the Rams may not be strong enough to break into the top two.  Reagan, Broughton, and Mount Tabor could wind up battling for the last spot in the top 5.

  • 3A Boys (Virtual Meet) - Weddington enters as the favorite as the Warriors search for their first team title (they finished third the last two years).  Midwest rgional foe North Lincoln has had an impressive first season in 3A; the two-time defending 2A state champs have an excellent chance to finish on the podium despite competing against larger schools.  That is far for a lock for the Knights, though, as there are three teams from the Mideast region that all have the potential to challenge for a top 3 spot.  Chapel Hill comes in third in the virtual meet, using season-best times, but the TIgers finished third in their extremely competitive regional meet, with Cardinal Gibbons and Cedar Ridge ahead of them.  Individually, Tanis Baldwin (East Henderson) is the defending champion, and he has really been surging in recent weeks, far ahead of where he was at this time last fall.  He has his hands full with new arrival Philip Hall (Terry Sanford), down from 4A with the new reclassification; Hall won the 4A 1600 and 800 last spring, and has had a breakthrough cross country season.  Although those two will likely break away from the field, there should be a very large and competitive chase pack, including such runners as teammates Andrew Fea and Ryan Shannon (North Lincoln), Derek Chavis (Central Davidson), Alex Cornwell (Hickory Ridge), Jake Blizzard (Marvin Ridge), and Gil Gilreath (Northwest Cabarrus), as well as potentially several others.

  • 3A Girls (Virtual Meet) - The first time the top three runners in this classifcation raced, back in September in Raleigh, it was Mary Grace Dogget (Cardinal Gibbons) that came out on top, though her teammate Sophie Ebihara and Marvin Ridge's Lexi King were not far behind.  Since then, the ninth-grader King has continued her improvement, and she enters the meet with the top time.  This should be an excellent race up front, with all three capable of bringing home the gold medal.  Don't count out the next three runners, either: Anna Vess (AC Reynolds) proved last year that she can step it up at the state meet; Blake Dodge (West Carteret) has all the potential in the world (not to mention she hasn't really been challenged this fall); and Allie Castro (North Lincoln) is due for a big race.  If you put stock in the statistics, the top two teams are pretty clearly defined, though a lot can happen during the actual race.  Cardinal Gibbons seeks their fourth consecutive 3A title, while Marvin Ridge wants to challenge right away with their very young team.  The next cluster of teams is incredibly close in the virtual meet: West Carteret, A.C. Reynolds, and North Lincoln are only separated by 6 points, with Chapel Hill another 6 points back.  Some of the best action in this race will happen off the podium, and true fans of the sport can really appreciate that.

  • 2A Boys (Virtual Meet) - Continuing out tour of schools contending for championships despite moving up in classificiation, we come to Science & Math.  The 2011 1A state champs, who at the time were catching flak for being too good, are now in 2A, and they are the favorites to win.  Lake Norman Charter is also new to the classification, with a chance to make it a 1-2 sweep for former 1A schools.  However, Franklin's boys will have something to say about that, having already defeated LNC at their regional last weekend, and they haven't run on a course that would be considered fast since September.  Don't be surprised if the Panthers run better than their seed, even challenging for the team title.  Science & Math also boasts the top individual contender, Nicholas Walker, although he has a ton of competition for that spot, especially since none of the runners in this race have broken 16 on the season (the only classification where that is true).  Corbin Boyles (Maiden) may have a breakthrough race coming, while Elijah Inuwah (Central Academy of Technology) and Matthew Panza (Lake Norman Charter) continue to improve.

  • 2A Girls (Virtual Meet) - At first glance, you might think, "Same old, same old" in this race, as once again Carrboro enters as the top seed.  This year is different, however - the Jaguars are not a dominant favorite, with Croatan and East Lincoln right on their heels for what could be the most closely-contested team title of the day.  Some questions linger about the difficulty of the courses Croatan has run, and whether they can translate their success to Beeson Park, but they have plenty of talent; East Lincoln, on the other hand, has run some tough courses but has less high-level experience than the other two squads.  All three teams are powered by top-flight individuals, with Carrboro's Maysa Araba and Helen Morken taking on Callie Wynn (West Davidson) in the pursuit of an individual championship.  Frances Massey leads East Lincoln, while Croatan sports veteran Savannah Pugh and youngster Tyler Glynn up front.  Hana Ratcliffe (Durham School of the Arts) has been a bit inconsistent this fall, but certainly has flashed the potential to run with the lead pack.  Sophomore Brittany Stanley (Mount Pleasant) may have no choice but to try to stay with the leaders, as there is a nearly 20-second gap behind her, which could put her in the figurative "mo-man's land" with nobody around her if she isn't careful.

  • 1A Boys (Virtual Meet) - Last year, Zach Boone (Mitchell) suffered an injury the week of the state meet.  Though he didn't know until the day before the meet whether he would be able to run, he still managed to finish fourth, leading his team to a top-5 finish.  This year, he enters as a heavy favorite for the individual championship (although he would be justified in avoiding soup in all its forms this week).  Chris O'Brien (Raleigh Charter) has a chance to take home the title, as does Frank Cline (Robbinsville), as those are the only other runners in the field that have broken 16.  Bishop McGuinness is the defending team champion; the Villains are led by Jack Brannan, who can help his team with a top-5 individual finish.  Watch out for young Research Triangle High School, led by Madison Daniel, and they in turn will be trying to stay ahead of Elkin.

  • 1A Girls (Virtual Meet) - The Bishop McGuinness girls are also defending team champions, as the Villains swept the titles at last year's meet.  The girls are even stronger favorites than the boys, and by the time their race begins they will most likely know if another sweep is possible.  Carly Kreber powers Bishop with her consistent pacing up front, and she should be in the first pack along with Kirstin Parries (Mount Airy), Hannah Zenker (Franklin Academy), and Shawnda Martin (Robbinsville).  However, that pack will be chasing the top individual, Malia Ellington (Community School of Davidson).  Ellington has run 18:26 this season, and if well-rested (and healthy) she is a force to be reckoned with.  In addition to her individual title chances, Ellington hopes to lead her team into the top 3, a sentiment shared by Franklin Academy, Gray Stone Day, and Lincoln Charter.  If Sophia Bhalla can get into the top 5 individually, that would boost Lincoln Charter's case for making the podium in what is shaping up to be a very competitive race for second place.

Meet Records: Boys | Girls

(From the MileSplit database, recent years only)

 

Virtual Course Walk: Beeson Park

 

Historical NCHSAA State Meet Team Rankings: The Beeson Park Era