Watauga senior Avery Cannon continued his breakout cross country season by booking a trip to San Diego by finishing 9th at Foot Locker South! The top boys from 13 states & Puerto Rico competed today at McAlpine Creek Park where the 10 top would advance to the national meet in two weeks.
Cannon is coming off two strong races winning the NCHSAA 3A State Championship and running 9:14 indoors at the New Balance Dash for Doobie 3200m last Saturday. He was still not amongst the top 25 boys entered with his 15:27 seasons best.
The race went out fast, as expected with the lead pack going through the mile in 4:38. Cannon sat in 12th at 4:40, but the entire top 40 was in a tight pack with no real separation just yet. As the athletes got to the hill things began to string out a little at the front. Cannon showed no signs of slowing down and was hanging on in the lead group.
Off the hill, Judson Greer (TX) made a move to pull ahead of the field. He'd come through the 2 mile just 2 seconds ahead of the field at 9:40. Cannon still remained in the lead group coming through in 9:42 and moving up to 5th place! However 10th place was just 1 second behind him and he'd need a strong last mile to hang on to a nationals spot.
Greer would hold on up front staying just narrowly ahead of the boys field. He'd take the win in 14:57 holding off a late charge from Coen Roberts (SC) who took 2nd in 14:58. It was tight as the field came around the lake from 3rd through 11th. Cannon was fighting to hold on as he sat in 6th or 7th on the homestretch. A few runners dipped past him in the final steps, but he'd clock 15:06 to earn a 9th place finish and a massive PR!
Cannon wasn't expecting this heading in as he had hoped to run a new PR. He ran a perfect race putting himself in the mix from the beginning and holding on to take home a top spot. 11th place finisher was just 1.9 second back of Cannon, so there wasn't much room for error from him.
Cannon is the 41st ever North Carolina boy to advance to Foot Locker Nationals. He becomes Watauga's 4th boy to ever qualify joining Michael Clinebell (1985), Joe Lion (1997) and Ricky Brookshire (1999).
The UNC Charlotte commit will head to San Diego, California to cap off his senior cross country season in two weeks.