Great American has changed quite a bit since it left North Carolina. The meet started here in Charlotte, spent a year in nearby Rock Hill, back to Charlotte, and then went to Cary. This is the 2nd year it has been held in Hoover, Alabama. Last year a number of NC teams and individuals made the trek to see what Hoover would be like . . . it was hot and miserable.
Don't get me wrong, the course was unique and spectator friendly, but it wasn't North Carolina. (insert smile and wink here)
So, I asked myself, who from North Carolina is headed down this year? It's a small group, but a good one.
In the boy's small school race, David Dement from Cary Academy will be running. David has stepped up in his junior year and run much better than his previous years of XC. David has run 16:48 this year and will be aiming for a top 5 finish at the NCISAA State Championships on October 26th.
Two schools will be representing North Carolina in the Race of Champions. Asheville's boys and TC Roberson's girls will make the hike down south.
Last year TCR ran very well at Great American. They placed 11th in the ROC race and put their name on the map. This year I'm sure they will be hoping for better. At last week's Wendy's Invitational, they placed 5 girls under 20:00 without their #1 runner, Carolina Kirby. With a good race at Great American, they could move all the way up into the top ten Southeast Regional Poll.
Asheville's boys are led by two sophomores who both broke 4:30 in the 1600 last year as 9th graders. John Harwell has run 16:02 and Isaac Presson has run 16:38. Asheville has been ranked 2nd in the 3A coaches poll for the entire season. They began there in the preseason poll and look as if they will finish there at the state championship. This is a good team and with two runners possibly finishing in the top 20, they could do well.
Good luck to David, Asheville, and TCR. Represent NC well down there in Hoover!