The Four Horsemen - Now Down to Two 3A Boys

**10/16/07 News: Taylor won't be running at FLS. The minor injury has turned out to be a bit more than originally expected. Coach Olsen just sent me an email filling me in. "Taylor hip flexor problem altered his stride pattern and has caused a stress fracture in /on hisshin. He'll spend the next 6-8 weeks aqua-jogging."

**10/17/07 News: Nick Graw is most likely done as well. Word from Coach Olsen is that Graw has also decided to shut his season down. Not sure on the details. 


The North Carolina boys will head into the Foot Locker South meet with 4 athletes looking at qualifying for the National meet. They are led by last year’s FLS champion, Ryan Hill from Hickory. All 4 athletes broke the magical 16:00 barrier at the NCHSAA state championships on the tough Tanglewood Course.

14 boys have broken 16:00 on the Tanglewood Course. They are:

Ryan Hill of Hickory, CR, 2007 – won FLS last year in 14:46, we’ll see about this year
Sandy Roberts of Broughton, 2004 – 9th at FLS in 15:06
Jack Bolas of Chapel Hill, 2005 – 3rd at FLS in 14:54
Matt Debole of Mount Tabor, 2002 – 2nd at FLS in 14:55
Taylor Gilland of Chapel Hill, 2006 – DNR FLS as team traveled to NTN Nationals, we’ll see about this year
Nick Hutchins of Millbrook, 2003 – 7th at FLS in 15:02
Bobby Mack of North Forsyth, 2002 – 8th at FLS in 15:07
Lewis Woodard of Providence Day, 2005 – injured at FLS race
Patrick Campbell of Moorseville, 2007 – We’ll see
Andy Wacker of Pinecrest, 2006 – injured at FLS race
Ryan Workman of Chapel Hill, 2005 – 14th at FLS in 15:23
Dakota Lowery of West Johnston, 2006 – 13th at FLS in 15:24
Eric Mack of North Forsyth, 2002 – in 2003, finished 6th in 14:59
Nick Graw of Enloe, 2007 – We’ll see

So, as you can see, the company these athletes are among is pretty stellar. 7 of the 12 qualified for the National meet, and 3 more will look to jump onto that “qualified” list.

Each of these 4 individuals ran very well in early October on the McAlpine course. Taylor had the fastest time of NC athletes with a 15:17, Hill ran 15:20, Graw hit 15:21, and Campbell ran 15:28.

Let’s take a closer look at each athlete.

Ryan Hill, Sr., Hickory HS:
As everyone knows by now, Ryan won the FLS race last year after dominating his competition all year round. Hill has won three 3A NCHSAA state titles in his career and would love to win two Foot Locker South titles. In the FLS meet history, only Alan Webb(VA), Bradsher Wilkins(NC), Brad Hauser(TX), and Sharif Karie(VA) have won back to back titles. Ryan lost this season, something new for him, at the Wendy’s Invitational. Most were not only surprised he lost, but he didn’t even have the fastest time on the day of NC athletes. Ryan came back with a vengeance at the 3A state meet, as he blasted the 1st mile in about 4:37, hit 2 in 9:41, and finished off with a new course record. He looked very ready for what was ahead.

Taylor Gilland, Jr., Chapel Hill:

Taylor watched last year’s FLS race from the sidelines. His team was training through in order to be ready for the NTN Championships. I asked Taylor last year if it was hard to watch. He looked at me and said, “Yeah, pretty much.” I could see it in his eyes how much he wanted to be out there. Well, now he gets his chance. After a very successful sophomore track season last year, hitting 4:13 for a true mile and 9:14 solo for 3200m, he looked primed for a run at a national birth. Taylor won the 4A state meet this year despite working through a minor injury. If Taylor is back at his best, look for him to qualify. At the first meet of the season, he and Ryan put on a show at the WNC CC Carnival. I for one would love to see that battle come full circle.

Patrick Campbell, Sr., Moorseville:
Patrick busted onto the XC scence this year at the WNC CC Carnival. He entered the meet knowing Hill and Gilland would be the favorites. However, Patrick didn’t back down, and that has been the theme to his season. Patrick then raced 2 finalists from last year at the Eye Opener, Hill and Luke Lovelace(SC), and raced them well. Patrick also suffered from a slight injury and didn’t even run at his Regional. You would have never guessed however, as he chased after Hill for the 3A state title. He went out in 4:41 and 9:54 on the tough state meet course. Look for him to run smoothly through 2 miles in 9:40 in elite competition. Campbell has been running with confidence all season. He is obviously ready for the Regional, with his solo 9:21 3200m at the Charger Tune-up.

Nick Graw, So., Enloe:
Graw has had a very successful sophomore season, very reminiscent to his favorite competitor, Taylor Gilland. Well, it’s one of my favorite match-ups to watch, and we’ve gotten to watch it numerous times this season. Nick has slowly moved up on Taylor throughout the season and at the 4A state meet, lost by only 6 tenths of a second. I would imagine that wherever Taylor is in the seeded race this weekend, you’ll find a floppy haired young sophomore right near by. Nick ran 15:56 last year at McAlpine as a 9th grader and hit 4:29 indoors. That was the extent of his track season, as he needed to rest an injury. Obviously his training as paid off as now he has a legit shot at making the big dance.

Could all four athletes make it to the Foot Locker National meet? It could happen, but I’m sure the percentage is low. There are plenty of talented athletes in the region, but if these four come to the meet and are all on their game . . . don’t count them out!