In 2018 Carmen Alder of Pinecrest won at Friday Night Lights in 18:22. Last night Alder was 30 seconds faster than she was a year ago running a 17:51 after breaking away from the field after the first mile.
Alder ran 17:47 a few weeks ago at the Providence Invitational at McAlpine Park where she opened up her season.
Early in the race Alder was in the front per usual alongside Frances Whitworth (Mount Tabor) who took 2nd to Alder a year ago. Whitworth would hang with Alder through the mile mark at around 5:36 as the two were already well ahead of the field.
Through the mile, Cuthbertson teammates Gabby Castro and Madeline Hill would lead a group of girls. Ryann Aycock (Cary Christian), Lilly Walters (Hough) and Sophia Ritter (Watauga) sat right behind them.
Alder would begin to pull away from Whitworth beyond that, but Whitworth's lead over the group racing for 3rd place would continue to grow as well.
Aycock would take over the pace through the halfway point with Castro and Hill while Weddington's Anna Ritter also joined the group of four fighting for 3rd.
Everything remained the same up front as Alder's lead continued to grow and Whitworth would remain alone in a battle for 2nd. Hill, and Castro would lead Ritter and Aycock heading into 1200m to go.
Alder would storm down the homestretch over 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the field en route to a 17:51. The mark is 3rd best in Friday Night Light's history behind only Nevada Mareno (17:38) and Sara Platek (17:49). It's also only one second off Alder's Ivey Redmon personal record of 17:50 from the state meet last year. Through two meets it's certain that she's in better shape than she was a year ago.
Whitworth's 2nd place finish last year was in 18:40. This year she crossed the line 15 seconds faster in 18:25! It is the 5th fastest mark in meet history as she confirms she's a major contender for the 3A state title this fall.
Hill would win the battle for 3rd pulling ahead of her competitors late in the race running 18:38 good for a seasons best. Anna Ritter continues her breakout campaign running 18:46 for a new PR. Ritter's mark on this course last year as a junior was 20:48! Castro would run a personal best in her 5K season debut clocking 18:48 with Aycock holding off Hope Dominique (Wake Forest) for 6th in 18:55 and 18:58 respectively.
Behind Hill and Castro, Cuthbertson would put three girls in the top 10 with freshman Alyssa Preisano running 19:01 for 9th. That gave Cuthbertson 3 girls ahead of Weddington's #2. But Weddington would place their 5th girl ahead of Cuthbertson's 4th giving them a narrow 4 point victory over their Union County rival 63 to 67.
Ritter has emerged as a slight frontrunner for Weddington which is something they didn't seem to have coming into the season. They were without Elizabeth Starkie who ran 19:33 at Providence. With their 7th girl at 20:13, Weddington should have at least 8 girls under 20 minutes by seasons end.
Castro and Preisano's performances were big for Cuthbertson as well. Castro has had success on the track, but this was a 31 second PR in her season debut. With last year's number 2 girls Leah Helms at full strength the Cavs could have a lethal top 4. They were also without Kaitlyn St. Hilarie tonight who was a staple of their top 5 last year ending they season as the teams #3.
Weddington, Cuthbertson and Chapel Hill were each very good last year. But all three schools were even better at Friday Night Lights this year than last.
|Team||2018 1-5 Avg.||2019 1-5 Avg.|
The battle between these three 3A powers gets better and tougher every year!