Armentrout Sets New Friday Night Lights Course Record



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Ben Armentrout of Atkins took down a loaded Friday Night fields in meet record fashion as he cruised to a new PR of 15:42.  Armentrout was pushed throughout the majority of the race with four boys in the lead group with about 800m to go.

As many major races do, everyone was bunched up around the opening horseshoe loop as athletes were covering every inch of the course at the front of the pack.  Jack Dingman (Northern Guilford) was setting the pace as he took the field through the mile marker in 4:59.  Every big name athlete was in contention as the lead group trailing Dingman was about 15 athletes.

This was the debut race for the majority of the field.  Despite some athletes running fast times already this season, their was no true favorite coming in.

As they went back around the horseshoe loop and started heading to the mile and a half mark the lead group had established with 7 guys hanging on with Murphy Smith (Ardrey Kell), Dingman, Armentrout, Thomas Vo (Green Hope), Avery Cannon (Watauga), Jake Toomey (Weddington) and Zander Jeffcoat (Lexington, SC) all in contention to win.

They would go through the 2 mile in 10:09 and around that point Dingman, Armentrout, Cannon and Vo were in a group battling it out over the final half mile.

Armentrout said afterwards he did not want to let the race go down to a kick down the Ivey Redmon homestretch, so made his move at around 800m to go.  He'd pull away from the field and would not turn back hauling down the homestretch to a 18 second personal best and first time under 16 minutes. 

Vo would outlast Dingman and Cannon as they'd finish in that order in 15:50, 15:53 and 15:55 respectively.  It would be a PR for both Dingman and Cannon in what was a very impressive finish for both.

Jeffcoat, Toomey and Smith would finish 5-6-7 after putting themselves in contention for most of the race.

Armentrout's mark beats Coleman Mitchell's (Cary Academy) course record from two years ago where he ran 15:47 in a battle with Dakota Mendenhall.  Since the Ivey Redmon course changed in 2015, only 7 boys have run faster than Armentrout did tonight.  6 of the 7 marks came from the state meet, two months later in the season, and the other came from NCRunners Elite, the last meet before championship season.  Armentrout could be in for big improvement as the year goes on.

Friday Night Lights Boys All-Time List

1Ben Armentrout12Atkins15:42.87
2Thomas Vo12Green Hope15:50.05
3Jack Dingman11Northern Guilford15:53.46
4Avery Cannon12Watauga15:55.43
5Zander Jeffcoat10Lexington16:03.60
6Jake Toomey12Weddington High School16:06.96
7Murphy Smith11Ardrey Kell16:11.08
8Gavin Sweeney10Watauga16:12.55
9Matthew Bauer12Pinecrest16:14.51
10Kenny Eheman11Cary Academy16:14.73

The team battle was extremely tight between as Chapel Hill, Weddington and Providence Day would all finish within 8 points of one another.  Chapel Hill was the first with 4 points across the line of the three schools, but the 3rd to get their fifth runner home.  They were able to edge 3A rival Weddington by just 2 points and Providence Day by 8 points.

The Tigers were led by a strong day from juniors Ben Hawley and Emil Arangala who placed 11th and 15th respectively running 16:17 and 16:25.  The Tigers had a 50 second spread from 1-5 and a 16:41 team average getting a big win over their 3A rival Weddington.

Weddington had a strong day and showed off their depth as well.  They had a 16:41 team average up front and 10 runners at 17:30 or better including the JV results.  Only Chapel Hill, Providence Day and Pinecrest had their 5th runner finish faster than Weddington's 10th today.

Providence Day was without top runner Christian Landis and were still able to compete with two of the states best teams.  If you add in Landis to what they had tonight they could be the best team in the state this year.