NCHSAA 1A Boys Recap
This was the first race of the day and was supposed to be the most competitive. There didn't seem to be a team or individual in this race who stood out, so all XC fans were ready for some fun.
At the 1-mile mark, North Carolina School of Science and Math teammates, Daniel Kimmel and Cam Cook, were in 1st and 2nd. They hit the mile in 5:13, and the chase pack was about 5:16.
As they came down the hill, ready to hit the 1.5 mark, Will Scott of Bishop McGuinness was beginnning to make a move towards the NCSSM front two.
Teamwise it looked as if Hayesville and NCSSM were leading the way with East Wilkes and Gray Stone Day right in the mix as well.
By the 2-mile work, it was a group of 4 in contention for the win. Kimmel, Cook, Scott, and now Ricky Rivas of South Stokes. The 4 of them hit the 2-mile in about 11:00 to 11:02.
Gray Stone Day looked to making a push for 1st in the team competition, as they had 4 guys running well and in the top 25.
As they approached the final hill, it was a 3-man race. Rivas was tucked in behind Cook and Kimmel, who had led from the gun.
The team competition was heating up with about 3/4 of a mile left. Bishop, East Wilkes, Gray Stone Day, NCSSM, Murphy, South Stokes, Hayesville, and Robbinsville all were running well.
Daniel Kimmel of NCSSM made a move somewhere in the woods to gain a small gap on the other two. He came flying down the hill and looked like the win was his . . . and it was. Rivas was in 2nd but Cam Cook passed him in the last .1. The three were separated by only 4 seconds, 17:12, 17:13, and 17:16.
East Wilkes had made a big push, especially at the 4 and 5 spots and looked to have the victory. However, with NCSSM going scoring 3 points through 2 guys, they were going to be tough. Gray Stone Day also looked very solid, as they had 4 guys in the top 21.
In the end, East Wilkes won with 94 points, Gray Stone Day had 97, and NCSSM scored 105. The race ended up about as close as expected.
The 1A girl's race turned out to be a bit different than expected.
*First of all I want to say, my thoughts are with the Bishop McGuinness team as Katie Pellitteri was taken off in an ambulance before she could finish the race.
Elizabeth Humphries of Jordan Matthews took the race out hard. She quickly found herself running alone. Elizabeth came through the mile in 5:57, with her nearest competitors about 5 seconds back. Cissy Nitz of Bishop McGuinness led a small group in about 6:02. Last year's champ, Zatha Loewen of Topsail, was running her usual race, as she hit 6:12. She was in about 12th place.
A 1/2 mile later, the race was changing quite a bit. Humphries still had the lead, but the Bishop ladies, Heather Hofmann and Cissy Nitz were gaining on her. In 4th place now was Zatha Loewen, which wasn't a good sign for her competitors, as she typically runs pretty even. Right behind her were two East Wilkes runners, Carol Blankenship and Anna Hayes.
As they came out of the woods and made the push to the 2-mile mark, Zatha had moved up to Elizabeth Humphries shoulder and was content on sitting there. The two of them had begun to put a small gap on Hofmann and Nitz. They front two hit the 2-mile mark in 12:29 with the BM girls coming through about 5 seconds back.
Jade Farlow of South Stanly was also moving well, as she was now in 6th place with Hayes right in front of her.
As they came to the beginning of the final climb, Nitz and Hofmann had closed the gap to about 3 seconds on Zatha and Elizabeth. Jade Farlow had moved into the 5th place and was looking strong.
Topsail was making a strong move for Bishop in the team race. Hayesville and Hendersonville looked tough, too. However, it looked like a 2-team race. Topsail's girls were looking quite good heading into the final 1200 meters.
Zatha Loewen came around the final turn in the lead and sped to her 2nd state title in a row, and she's only a sophomore.
Behind her were the two Bishop girls, Heather Hofmann and Cissy Nitz. Elizabeth Humphries of Jordan Matthews had fallen to 4th. Jade Farlow still in 5th.
As I scored it between Topsail and Bishop, I had a 1 point win for Topsail, but that was without the individuals being taken out. it was going to be very close.
In the end, Topsail edged Bishop by 5 points, 67 to 72. Topsail didn't have their #2 runner Brittany Zinser, but was able to peak at the right time. Hendersonvilled then edged Hayesville, the 3-time defending state champs, for 3rd place.