In 2014 Carolina Day won the girls NCISAA 2A Girls State Championships. Every year since then their girls seem to get a little more dominant on the NCISAA scene.
Last year they were tested at their CAA Conference Championship meet one week before the state meet edging rival Asheville Christian and Asheville School with a score of 42 to 43 to 43. They would go on to bounce back from a near loss to dominate the NCISAA 2A State Championship 37 to 95 over ACA.
This year was much different as the girls were firing on all cylinders. The course conditions were awful. Earlier in the season Coach Brian Rannie told us they were going to coordinate their workouts to get used to the rolling hills of Jackson Park. With the mud and rain it certainly made the already tough course the hardest and slowest course the state has seen the last few years.
It certainly had an affect on the Carolina Day girls, but it seemed to benefit them more-so than hinder them compared to their competition.
Their team average heading in was 19:46. On Friday they averaged 20:44, just 58 seconds slower then their seasons best. Below is the top 5 schools and how much slower their average at the state meet was versus their season average.
|Rank||School||Season Average||NCISAA Average||Difference|
|1||Carolina Day School||19:46.6||20:44||0:58|
|2||Asheville Christian Academy||21:23.0||22:51||1:28|
|4||Cary Christian School||21:20.3||23:01||1:41|
|5||Grace Christian School (Raleigh)||21:58.9||23:36||1:38|
During their last four NCISAA State Championships they've only had one individual state champion in Ralene Kwiatkowski back in 2014. This year Olivia Sutter was dominate for Carolina Day up front. Grace Christian's Sarah Mitchell lead the race early on, but Sutter took over and did not look back at the end of the first loop.
Sutter would go onto win in 19:54, the fastest time on the day at the NCISAA State Championships. Sutter placed 3rd in 2016, but missed last year due to injury. Sutter is a star swimmer first, but also is a super talented distance runner. Sutter said she'll end her cross country season and head back to the pool, but she'll be back for the track season.
This was Carolina Day's most dominant performance at the state championships yet. In 2016 they scored 23 points placing 5 girls in the top 7. This year they finished with 22 points finishing 1-3-5-6-7 while also placing their 6th and 7th girl in 9th and 10th place! 7 All-State athletes from the stellar program.
7th grader Abby Smith took 3rd in 20:42 after being 5th at the CAA Conference Championships just a week ago. Erin Hovendon would edge Ella Dockendorf for 5th place running 20:55 and 20:57 respectively. Ashlyn Browne, Katie Rudins and Ellen Weaver would place 7th, 9th and 10th for the Wildcats.
This team is certainly special, but they only graduate one girl from their top 7 in Ellen Weaver. The team is composed of one 7th grader, two freshman, one sophomore, two juniors and a senior. It's very apparent that their streak of 5 straight team titles is likely to extend over the next few years.
Congrats to the coaches and athletes on another strong season and NCISAA Performance.