Christ School junior Andrew Hammel was a stud last season clocking 15:39 taking 26th at Foot Locker South. He was the 5th place finished at the NCISAA 3A State Championships and would be the top returner in the new NCISAA 4A classification for the 2018 XC season. Indoors Hammel continued to flash clocking a 9:30 2 Mile at the UK High School Invitational, good for NC#5 on the season.
Hammel seems to have been injured on the track outdoors running a few races well off his overall PR. So we weren't sure if we'd see him back at full strength early in the season. Hammel debuted today at Eye Opener in Spartanburg, SC took kick off his 2018 season. The field was full of a lot of strong South Carolina athletes including Coen Roberts (Greer), Noah Hayes (Hillgrove), Kade Gosnell (Boiling Springs) and Noah White (Eastside).
The pace was out pretty hot as Hammel sat up front through the mile marker in 4:51 in the front of the lead pack of about 5 boys. Shortly after they went through the mile Hammel made his move, and began to push the pace as athletes began to fall off. He had sole possession of the lead with a decent gap on second place heading through the 2 Mile. But Roberts was making a late charge hoping to real him in.
Hammel and Roberts emerged just ahead of the finish line side by side. Roberts was able to push past Hammel through the line with about 50 meters left taking the win in 15:46 to Hammel's 15:49. A year ago Hammel took 5th in the race clocking 16:04.
A big performance from the meet is from Hammel's Christ School teammate in Joseph Visconti who ran 16:22 placing 5th overall against a strong field. Visconti held a PR of 16:48 from his sophomore season and proves he'll be a factor in the NCISAA 4A classification this fall.
In the Championship boys section Hunter White took 2nd overall clocking 16:33 with Haven Honeycutt of Asheville taking 6th in 17:01. William Coye (Brevard) also scored a top 10 finish running 17:09 good for 9th overall.
In the International Girls race Hough freshman Lilly Walters took 10th overall clocking 19:56.20. The freshman was 5th last week at the Providence Invitational running 19:15.97.