North Carolina went toe-to-toe against the nation's best! See how they did at the Great American Festival!
Boys Full Day Recap:
Great American started off as a rainy Saturday morning, but that did not stop Tim Haughton (Apex Friendship) from dominating the opening race of the morning, the Boys Red Race. Haughton's 15:45 is good for a new NC #9 this season! Apex Friendship finished 3rd overall in the race with 147 points behind Blacksburg, VA (86) and Severna Park, MD (87). Reece Collie was the second finisher from North Carolina and he placed 8th in 16:23!
In the Boys Blue race, Michael Rooney led a short-handed Broughton squad to a team victory scoring 159 total points. Not far behind Rooney were teammates Scott Rostick and Edward Brinkley who finished 14th and 18th respectively. Harrison Oswald (Carolina Day) was the top individual finisher in the Boys Blue race, however. Oswald ran a new personal best of 16:10. Benny Melville (Northern Guilford) managed to snag the last top 10 spot and finish 10th overall in 16:59.
In the Boys Seeded Race, North Carolina's top finisher was Josh Navarro (Millbrook) who finished 12th with a time of 16:18. Not far behind in 18th place was Laney's Patrick Shields coming in at a time of 16:31. Leesville Road, led by James Blizzard, finished 3rd place as a team scoring 152 points! Ahead of Leesville Road was Loudoun Valley, VA (52) and Marist, GA (104).
As always at Great American, all eyes were on the afternoon's Nike Race of Champions! Through the first mile, Ben Verchick (Union Pines) and Andrew Hammel (Christ School) were sitting strong in the lead groups with Conor Nisbet (Wilmington Friends), Charles Hicks (Bolles), Camren Fischer (Fayetteville), and Carter Cheeseman (Fort Worth Christian). Up the final stretch of the race it looked as if Fischer had this race won. However in the last 20 meters Cheeseman found a last-second surge and fired down the homestretch passing Fischer at the line, making Cheeseman your Great American Champion in a standout time of 14:50! Fischer would finish 2nd only .2 seconds behind. Colin Baker (Academic Magnet) and Hicks were the other two runners to dip under 15:00! Baker ran 14:53 and Hicks ran 14:59.
Nick Scudder was the top finisher from North Carolina, but it did not come easy. He and Verchick were battling the whole way to the line, but it was Scudder who walked away ahead in 13th place. Scudder's 15:20.5 is good for a new NC #1 time this season! Verchick managed to still set a personal best running a still phenomenal time of 15:20.7 which placed 14th. Christian Landis (Providence Day) had a breakthrough race running a huge personal best time of 15:25, which was good for a 17th place finish and NC #3! Broughton's John Malach finished strong in 30th place with a time of 15:40.
Outside of Loudoun Valley's dominating performance, the battle for 2nd place was tight. Loudoun Valley won with 64 points and were led by three top fifteen performances by Carlos Shultz (7th), Jacob Hunter (10th), and Kellen Hasle (15th). Bolles School finished 2nd with 108 points and Bishop Hendricken was 3rd with 123 points.
Weddington was the top school from North Carolina finishing 4th with 132 points! Weddington had four boys dip under the 16:00 barrier, including a breakout cross country race from Kyle Durham, where he ran 15:30! Behind Durham were Stephen Larson (15:43), Nate Jaster (15:47) and Jackson O'Hara (15:49). The race was a great breakthrough performance for Larson whose PR was 16:09 coming in. Cary finished 6th as a team but managed to pack one of the best 1-2-3 punches we saw! Brian Picone led the way with his new best of 15:34 and not far behind were teammates Jackson Martin, who finished 38th, and Anton Idhammar, who finished 42nd!
Girls Full Day
Jade Martin (Apex Friendship) gave North Carolina its 2nd win of the day as she was the Girls Red Race Champion! Martin's new personal best time of 18:43 is good for a new NC #12 time this season! North Carolina was dominant in this race as the top seven finishers were from the home state. Lilly Walters (Hough) finished 2nd and Stella Stringer (Durham Academy) finished 3rd, both dipping under 19:00! Jordan Landis (Riverside) finished 4th, NCSSM teammates Sofia Wong and Emmaline Daggett finish 5-6, and Anna Catherine Wilson (Durham Academy) was 7th. On the team side Durham Academy, who scored 93 points, walked away victorious over Satellite (136) and in-state rival Hough.
In the Girls Blue race, Emma Fredericks led the way for North Carolina finishing in 6th place with a time of 19:08! Wake Forest teammates Erin Spreen and Isabelle Frey finished 11th and 14th respectively.
In the Seeded Girls race, it was Olivia Sutter (Carolina Day) barely finishing 2nd behind Riley Perlakowski (Harrison, GA). Sutter did however help lead her team to a championship dominating this race with a score of 53 points! Science Hill was 2nd with 119 points and Leesville Road 3rd with 134 points. Leesville Road's 1-2 punch of Dalia Hasan and Ashley Tysiac was as strong as ever as they both set new personal best times running 19:18 and 19:26, respectively.
In the Girls Nike Race of Champions all eyes were on Saratoga Springs, NY runner Kelsey Chmiel, and for good reason. Chmiel bolted out the first mile at a pace only Carmen Alder (Pinecrest) kept up with. Chmiel was too much for Alder as she started breaking away after the 2000 meter mark. She did not look back en route to a dominating time of 16:43! Alder managed to hang on for 2nd, and did so with another stellar time of 17:28! Alder's new personal best is good for a NC #1 this season and a US #8 for her classification. An 8th grader from Holy Trinity Episcopal by the name of Carly McNatt was your 3rd place finisher in 17:35! The Chapel Hill girls managed to place 8th overall as a team, which is not a bad mark considering some of the schools ahead of them. Weddington finished 10th as a team.
Chiles, Florida was the winner of the team championship scoring 127 and holding off a final surge from Saratoga Springs, who finished 2nd with 154 points. Emily Culley and Caitlin Wilkey led the way for Chiles with top 20 finishes!