Girls Top 25 Cross Country Countdown: #5 Weddington

Weddington girls don't lose a single member of their team from 2016.  They actually didn't have a single runner older than a sophomore in their top 14 last fall.  This team was just 10 points out of being 2nd in 3A last fall and will be looking to improve on their 3rd place finish from last year.  Sarah Bechtel stepped up last fall running as the Warriors top girl throughout the season.  Bechtel had an awesome sophomore year running 19:01 in XC, then 2:16, 5:06 and 11:13 on the track.  Individually she was 13th in XC, then 3rd in the outdoor 1600 and 4th in the 800 at the NCHSAA 3A State Championships last year.  Bechtel has show zero signs of slowing down and after only running under 20 minutes once as a freshman she was significantly under 20 the last 7 races of her sophomore year.  Bechtel should be strong once again this fall and she be well under 19 this season.  

Sydney Burke had a big sophomore year as well running as Weddington's 1 or 2 throughout the season.  Burke was their top girl at the state meet earning all-state honors with a 10th place finish.  Burke is more of a longer distance girl than Bechtel and holds a XC PR of 19:21.  Bechtel did clock 2:22 and 5:16 on the track last spring as well as 11:29 for the 3200.  Burke should combine with Bechtel for a strong 1-2 throughout this season.  Nico Brown returns as Weddington's 3 after running 19:44 as a freshman.  Brown was 23rd for the Warriors at the 3A State Championships last fall and ran 2:27 on the track.  She didn't have much focus on the longer distance events only running one 1600 and 3200.  

Alex Wall will also rejoin the team after returning from lacrosse in the spring.  Wall has run 19:39 and 19:47 the last two seasons with a pair of 18th place finishes at the state championships.  Wall will likely be in the top 7 at the start of the season, and come on stronger and stronger as the cross country season goes on.  Anna Davis had a big spring track season running 5:39 and 11:57 showing she should be ready for a breakout in XC.  It seems like Davis is better the longer the distance is.  I expect Davis to be in the top 5 once again this season, as last year she had just moved to Matthews from Alabama.

Anna Brown and Kathleen Abrams will both be rising sophomores and took big steps forward on the track running 5:32 and 5:37 outdoors.  Both girls were slightly sub 21 last in the 20:40s, but both look to have taken the next step forward and will challenge for a top 5 spot this year.  The Warriors return event more depth in Clara Root and Ellie Maher who could have breakout seasons after fighting to crack this strong top 7 this fall.  They'll bring in a talented freshman class as well to join this already strong group lead by Ilana Thommen, Elizabeth Corbi and Elizabeth Starkie who ran 5:39 5:44 and 5:53 as 8th graders.  These girls have the talent up front and the depth to win 3A this season.  It's going to be a tight battle for two podium positions with Weddington, Chapel Hill and Cuthbertson this season, but one that's fun to watch from a fans perspective throughout the season.