NCISAA State Championships
On a less than perfect day for spectators and volunteers, it proved to be a beautiful day for NCISAA runners.
North Carolina is in the midst of quite a drought, but the rains came just in time for the NCISAA state meet on Friday, October 26th. At the NCISAA Preview Meet back in September, runners and spectators had to deal with dust being kicked up by athletes. At the state meet, it was mud they were dealing with.
The NCISAA runners competed hard and left everthing on the course.
The last time the NCISAA champs were held at McAlpine Park, it was the fastest meet in state history. Let's compare 2003 to 2007.
2003: 2 broke 19:00, 13 broke 20:00, 26 broke 21:00, 50th place was 23:15
2007: 2 broke 19:00, 9 broke 20:00, 30 broke 21:00, 50th place was 22:11
So as you can see, this year was very fast for the 3A girls. You could argue that it was the most competitive and fastest in meet history.
Adrianne Soo of Durham Academy won the girl's race in a time of 18:13. Her goal was to run 17:45, as she is preparing to try and qualify for the Foot Locker finals in November, but came a bit short. Running by herself for pretty much the entire way made it difficult to break the 18:00 barrier, but I'm certain on November 24th she'll run very fast. This was Adrianne's 2nd straight NCISAA title and she is only a junior. Rumor is . . . track is on the horizon?!
Melanie Reyer of Charlotte Country Day finished second overall in a very time of 18:44. This ranks her #2 in CCDS school history and this was her only year to run cross-country. Melanie, last year's 1600m state champ, decided to give XC a shot and it obviously paid off for her. Look for her to do serious damage in track.
Third place overall was another beginner on the XC scene, Haley Holway from Providence Day School. Haley ran track last year and also decided to give XC a shot. She finished 6th in the 3200 and 9th in the 1600 last year, so this 3rd place is a big improvement.
Haylee Dawe, one of Charlotte Latin's 9th graders, had another exceptional race. Haylee has been very consistent all year and today was rewarded with a team title, a 4th place finish, and a personal best. Haylee finished in 19:16, a 7 second PR for her.
Dawe was followed closely by a fellow freshman and fellow teammate. Kameron Spence steadily improved all year and concluded the season with a 5th place finish. Kameron dominated middle school competition in Charlotte last year and has obviously warmed up to the 5k distance as well. Kameron finished her season with a 24 second PR, running 19:19.
The rest of the All-State team: Maegan Whiting of North Raleigh Christian, Frances Dougherty of Greensboro Day, Erin O'Connor of Durham Academy, Rachel Park of Cary Academy, Elizabeth Lang of Forsyth Country Day, and Cathleen Ress of Cannon School.
The Charlotte Latin girls team won their first state title in school history. Charlotte Latin made a big jump from finishing 5th last year at the state championships. A lot of that success was due to the three 9th graders who joined the team this year. The CISAA conference is the only conference not allowed to run middle schoolers, so CLS was somewhat under the radar . . . to some teams. With the addition of the 9th graders, Haylee Dawe, Kameron Spence, and Ally Finical, Latin's upper classmen have improved. Hillary Dawe and Louise Hindal, the other CLS scorers in the meet, have also seen improvement this year. This team will continue to run well next year as 6 of the top 7 return and 4 of the top 5.
Forsyth Country Day, last year's state champs, ran well and put 5 girls under 21:00 and 7 girls under 21:30. They are the only NCISAA team to put 7 girls under 21:30 this year. FCDS is still a young team as they also return 6 of their top 7. Freshman Elizabeth Lang led the Furies with a 10th place finish. Elizabeth ran her fastest time of the year, hitting 20:00. Emily Branch, the Furies only senior, was the 2nd FCDS athlete to finish and 13th overall. Look for this team to stay on top.
The next 3 teams were only separated by 5 points. Cary Academy finished 3rd with 105 points, then Cannon scored 107, and Providence Day finished with 110 points. All 3 teams look to be returning plenty of talent next year.
The top 11 boys broke 17:00, and 15 under 17:10, at the meet which may not be so shocking. However, the great thing for the NCISAA is that only 4 of them were seniors. In the top 15, there were 4 seniors, 4 juniors, 1 sophomore, 4 freshemen, and 1 8th grader! The 3A boys look to be very strong during the next few years.
Rett English of Christ School won his 2nd consecutive state title, running 16:13 on the soaked course. Rett was coming off a stress fracture from the summer, but was able to train well during the season and stepped up at the right time. Prior to the race, Rett's PR for the season was only 16:44. However, Rett won the FLS Jr. race last year in 15:53, so he's no stranger to the course. Rett surged as the front pack hit the hill, and at that point, none of the other competitors could match his move.
Nick Kisley, a junior from Cary Academy, ran the fastest time of his career, hitting 16:31 for the 5k. Nick began the season very strong and then was somewhat up and down, ending with this very solid run. Nick only finished 4th at last week's TISAC Conference Meet, but came into this meet with something to prove. Nick ran at the front from the gun and was able to pull away from the two Charger seniors in the last 400 meters.
In third place was Clay Sankey of Providence Day. Clay finishes his career in the NCISAA with two top 3 finishes and 3 All-State awards. Clay's NCISAA finishes look like this: 9th grade-15th, 10th grade-6th, 11th grade-2nd, and 12th grade-3rd. Clay has helped the Charger's to 3 consecutive state titles, being the #1 for the last two.
His teammate, Wyatt Freeman, has really come on since his sophomore year. Wyatt is also a senior and now finishes his NCISAA career with 2 top 5 finishes. Wyatt was 17th back in 2005, but then improved to 3rd and 4th overall the last two seasons. Like Clay, Wyatt was a huge part of PD's success over the last 3 years.
In fifth place was Greensboro Day's Ryan Carty. Ryan ran well at the NCISAA Preview Meet finishing 9th overall in 17:18, but at the final meet of the season, ran a huge PR. Ryan his 16:39 for the 5k and will be the #3 returner headed into next season.
The rest of the All-State team: Thomas Graham of Cary Academy, Erik Kraus of Durham Academy, Fadi Hanna of North Raleigh Christian, Worth Newman of Durham Academy, Scott Foy of Charlotte Country Day, and Carl Ward of Durham Academy.
The Providence Day boys won their 3rd straight NCISAA title, after never winning a state title prior to 2005. Four seniors, Clay Sankey, Wyatt Freeman, Ehsan Akbari, & Preston Lennon, have helped make this possible. They have also done a good job of bringing on the younger kids, as PD put 7 runners under 17:30 for the 1st time in school history. All season the Charger's were looking for a 5th man and luckily they found him. Gerrick Hilliard, a junior and new to XC, ran 5th at the last few big meets for PD but moved up to 3rd at the state champs. His improvement allowed the Charger's to win the title. Patrick Bailey and David Stern, their 6th and 7th runners, will be key individuals on next year's PDXC team.
Durham Academy's boys are young and definitely came out with something to prove. Youth is a wonderful thing, especially when they are confident and fearless. DA's boys put themselves in position to possibly upset the Charger's as they came over the hill. Then heading into the back mile, it was obvious they were making a push for something special. They almost pulled off a major upset, as PD had been ranked 1st the entire season. DA was led by Erik Kraus' 7th place finish in 16:45. Two other DA athletes made the All-State team, Worth Newman a junior and Carl Ward a freshman. This team is young and very talented! Word is they are running track, so be on the lookout for these boys.
Cary Academy was 3rd, but only 10 points out of first. As mentioned earlier, they were led by Nick Kisley's 2nd place finish. 8th grader, Thomas Graham, was 2nd for the team in a very impressive 16:44. This team will also be dangerous next year as they look to be losing 1 or 2 out of the top 7.
Charlotte Country Day and North Raleigh Christian had the best of the races of their season for 4th and 5th respecitively. CCDS had Scott Foy, a 9th grader, in the top 11 and then put 4 under 18:00 and 6 under 18:05. This team is also young and will be a fixure at the top of the NCISAA in the future. NRCA was also led by a 9th grade, Fadi Hanna, who finished 8th overall. With Fadi leading the way, the 2-5 for NRCA packed it up to secure 5th place. Their next 4 ran 18:01-18:17.
The competition in the 1A/2A girls race was excellent. With the winning team scoring 122 points, you can see a number of teams had fast individuals. Thirteen girls broke 21:00 and they were from 11 different schools! A total of 18 different schools were represented in the firs 26 athletes to cross the line.
Bethany Spano of Southlake Christian brought home the individual crown in 19:54. She was the only athlete to crack 20:00 as she won by 19 seconds. She took over the race at about 800m and hit the mile in 6:12, all alone, and that's how she finished. Bethany is only an 8th grader, so the XC world should look out. Plus, running fast is common in the family. Her older sister, Kimberly, won the 4A state title last year and is one of the favorites to win this year. it will be interesting to see where Bethany is running next year. Southlake Christian or with her sister at North Mecklenburg?
In 2nd place was Caitlin Selle of Westminister Catawba. Caitlin was back a bit at the mile, running in about 6th place, but quickly made a move towards the front. She seemed to be closing the gap on Bethany as they approached the lake, but there wasn't enough room in the race. Caitlin is a sophomore, so look for her to be at the top of the 2A classification for a couple more years.
Spartanbury Day's Lucy Lynch finished 3rd with a fine time of 20:26. Prior to this race, Lucy's PR was 20:54 which she ran at the CAA Conference meet last Saturday. Lucy definitely picked the right time to run her best.
In 4th place was Gaston Day's Jana Allgeier in 20:31. This was a huge improvement since the NCISAA Preview Meet. Jana ran 21:26 in September then almost took a minute off her time at the state meet. Jana's PR coming into the race was 21:07, so she also saw a big jump.
Finally, the fifth place runner in the 1A/2A girl's race was Catherine Funk of Shannon Forest. Catherine made it 3 SC athletes in the top 5. Somewhat weird considering this is the NCISAA state meet, but the NCISAA has been very welcoming, allowing teams to come across the border to compete. Catherine ran 20:36 which by Milesplit.US is a personal best and her first time under 21:00.
The rest of the All-State consisted of: Marie Gentry of Caldwell Academy, Avery Goho of Westchester Country Day, Whitney Thornburg of Asheville Christian, Claire Councill of Westchester Country Day, Blair Long of Fayetteville Christian, and Sarah Morrell of Cary Christian.
The team competition was won by the Fayetteville Academy girls. FA's top runner was Sarah Stewart who finished in 21:00. She 15th overall and Laura Floyd, FA's #2, finished in 21:13 for 16th overall. Despite not having an All-State athlete, FA was able to pull off the win with finishes from 15th to 32nd for their top 5. This was FA's first state title for their girls.
Caldwell Academy finished in the runner-up spot. Most thought it would be a battle between these two schools for the top spot. Caldwell ran well at the NCISAA Preview meet, proving they would be in the mix come states. Caldwell was led by Marie Gentry who finished 6th in 20:36. This team is young, so look for them at the top next year as well.
The next 3 schools were only separated by 15 points. Asheville Christian Academy was 3rd with 182 points, Village Christian scored 185, and Caroline Day was fifth in 197. All three teams should be good next year, with a number of girls returning.
The boy's race was a great one, but there was more separation than the girls. Two teams stood out as they both scored under 100 points.
Fayetteville Academy's boys were the overwhelming favorite coming in. They won their 2nd straight title, scoring 33 points in making history. They were led by XC runner and soccer player, Jackson Ferrell, with his 2nd place finish in 16:44. FA placed 4 runners in the top 7 and 5 in the top 15. This was a dominating finish by the boys from Fayetteville. With solid coaching and and a building reputation, look for Fayetteville Academy to stay a force in the future.
Carolina Day finished in the runner-up spot and took home some hardware. Carolina Day really came on as a team ove the last week or so. They won the CAA conference title and then finished 2nd here. They were led by Davis Graham, the state champion, and Will Jordan who placed 10th overall.
Asheville Christian, Fayetteville Christian, and Covenant Day finished in the next 3 spots.
Davis Graham of Carolina Day won his second consecutive state title with his win on the sloppy course. Davis' season wasn't going as he had expected his senior year to go for most of the season. Just two weeks ago he was diagnosed with mono and was told he had had it since sometime in early September. That explained a lot. It's amazing that he was able to compete at the high level he did throughout the season and still win the state title.
Jackson Ferrell of Fayetteville Academy finished 2nd overall. Jackson is new to XC but obviously a very talented runner. He was participating in both soccer and XC this fall which is why some teams may not have known too much about him. He did not run at the Preview Meet and coming in had a PR of 17:20. His 16:44 was a big improvement.
Andrew McGee of Calvary Baptist ran 17:01 for 3rd place. Andrew has had a very successful season, winning many races throughout. Last year at the 2A state meet, Andrew finished 29th, running 19:00. What an amazing improvement for this sophmore who now owns a PR of 16:56!
Fayetteville Academy's #2, Andrew Cameron, finished in 4th with a time of 17:07. Andrew's previous PR was 17:30 which he ran at the NCISAA Preview meet. This is Andrew's final XC season as he is a senior.
The fifth place finisher was also from Fayetteville Academy. James Dawson, a sophomore. His time of 17:09 is a new personal record. Last year James finished 8th and this year 5th, a steady improvement could see him as state champ in a couple years . . .
The rest of the the All-State team were: Ben Pugh of Covenant Day, Jon Stallings of Cresset Christian, Robert Maughan of Fayetteville Academy, David MacPherson of Cary Christian, Will Jordan of Carolina Day, and Landon Perez of Fayetteville Christian.