The NCISAA 3A girls team battle coming into the race looked like Cary Academy were favorites to win their fourth straight team title, though Covenant Day was coming off a big win at the CISAA Championships. Once the gun went off it was obvious that Covenant Day had their eyes set on the team title as many of their girls were in the front of the field.
Cary Academy had an advantage with Ava Lathan contending in the front of the field would provide a strong low stick, and as they began up the hill Lathan sat in third place. Covenant Day was lead by Sedona Dancu and Eva Lindner not far behind. You could tell at this point that it certainly wasn't going to be a cake walk for Cary Academy as it has in previous years with 6 Covenant Days girls towards the front of the pack intermixed with Cary Academy's top 5.
Individually Lindsey Ickes (Forsyth Country Day) came in as the favorite and only increased her lead as she got up the hill and onto the back half of the course. At this point it was becoming a race for second place between Lathan, Stella Stringer (Durham Academy), Justine Cronk (Providence Day), Dancu and Lindner.
Lathan was able to pull ahead of Stringer and Dancu heading up the hill and was able to hold on for 2nd place and a big 2 team points for Cary Academy clocking 19:06. Stringer and Dancu flew down the homestretch fighting for every spot clocking PRs of 19:10 and 19:11 respectively to take 3rd and 4th. Lindner was just behind in 5th clocking 19:16 for 5th. All eyes were on the team battle now.
Cary Academy's #2 Athina Zodl finished in 8th, putting the team score at 9-10 in Covenant Day's favor through 2 girls. Cary Academy's Keely Murphy and Thuc Dzu were able to finish ahead of CD's #3 narrowly taking 12th and 13th. Covenant Day's #3 & #4 was slightly behind in 14th and 16th from Kelsey Troutman and Olivia Mueth. The team score was 35-39 through 4 runners now favoring Cary Academy. This means Covenant Day's #5 had to be more than 4 spots ahead of Cary Academy's #5 if they wanted to win.
Only a few seconds back from Mueth was Covenant Day's Sadie Evans who took 19th overall. Evans 20:27 was a 57 second PR. Cary Academy's 5th Suki Bristol was 7 seconds back taking 23rd overall. Exactly 4 spots back from Evans and Covenant Day. Team scores are all tied up at 58 through the 5 scoring athletes. When ties happen team results come down to who had the fastest 6th girl to decide who wins the tiebreak.
In this case, it was the senior from Covenant Day, Anna Haynes, crossing the line in 27th with likely no clue what she had just done. Cary Academy's #6 was in 59th overall securing the win for the underdogs Covenant Day. It took five of their top 7 girls running their seasons best to make this result happen. Pre-race favorites Cary Academy still had a great day. Three of their top 5 girls had their best race of the year.
This win by the Covenant Day School girls is reportedly the first ever state title in school history for a school that is a on the smaller end of NCISAA 3A competition. The squad also returns their entire top 5 while Cary Academy only loses their #2 in Athina Zodl, but will add back Lia Lathan who is coming off injury. 2018 XC can't get here soon enough!
Covenant Day School Results
|5,000 METER RUN|
|19:11.88||SB||Sedona Dancu||4th||3A Girls|
|19:16.47||SB||Eva Lindner||5th||3A Girls|
|20:16.82||Kelsey Troutman||14th||3A Girls|
|20:23.51||SB||Olivia Mueth||16th||3A Girls|
|20:27.93||SB||Sadie Evans||19th||3A Girls|
|20:43.97||SB||Anna Haynes||27th||3A Girls|
|22:08.74||Sara Kate Baudhuin||58th||3A Girls|
Cary Academy Results
|5,000 METER RUN|
|19:06.74||SB||Ava Lathan||2nd||3A Girls|
|19:43.06||SB||Athina Zodl||8th||3A Girls|
|20:08.33||Keely Murphy||12th||3A Girls|
|20:14.35||SB||Thuc Dzu||13th||3A Girls|
|20:34.60||Suki Bristol||23rd||3A Girls|
|22:31.11||Kate Park||60th||3A Girls|
|23:37.60||SB||Phoebe Ellison||84th||3A Girls|