NCHSAA State Meet Preview

Get it on!


NCHSAA 1A Girls Preview:

Carol Blankenship of East Wilkes has had a stellar season, but hasn’t really been tested. The races that she has run she has pretty much dominated, including the 1A Midwest Regional. A quote I received from an onlooker said, “Carol looked like she was hardly sweating.” This during her 19:14 victory at the regional. Carol is the obvious favorite here, but don’t count out some others to try and go with her.

Bishop McGuinness’ girls were not at full strength at the regional meet but still managed to win over a tough and improving Gray Stone Day team. Should Bishop be healthy and ready to go, look for them to take the title. Robbinsville’s girls have steadily improved, especially with the reemergence of Faith Trammell. Tacey, Faith’s sister, has improved and will hold her own at the front of the race. Look for Robbinsville to have 2 Trammell’s up front on Saturday. Hendersonville pulled off a 2-point victory over Robbinsville at the West Regional and they were led by Kristen Stout’s 2nd place finish. Kristen also looks to be back where she left off last year after suffering from a summer injury. The question mark here is North Carolina School of Science and Math. NCSSM ran very fast at the 1A Mideast Regional, but times all around were insanely fast considering what people had run during the rest of the season. Does this team have a very tough top 2? No doubt, but the real question will be how fast are their 3-5 girls . . . Predictions

Top 5 Girls:
1) Carol Blankenship, East Wilkes
2) Tacey Trammell, Robbinsville
3) Frances Dougherty, NCSSM
4) Faith Trammell, Robbinsville
5) Kristen Stout, Hendersonville

Top 5 Teams:
1) Bishop McGuinness
2) Robbinsville
3) North Carolina School of Science & Math
4) Hendersonville
5) Gray Stone Day

NCHSAA 1A Boys Preview:

Does anyone know who the top team is in the 1A boys’ classification? All season, this has probably been the tightest voting in the Coaches’ Poll as each team has proved themselves at different times during the season. Who will step up at the state meet seems to be the real question here.

NCSSM ran ridiculously fast at the 1A Mideast regional and even though their times were way faster than they had run previously, their 1-5 pack may be too much for other teams to handle. Hayesville and Robbinsville had an epic battle at the 1A West Regional with Hayesville winning by 1 point. Robbinsville has a very solid front 3 and will be looking for their 4 and 5 to step up. Hayesville is led by Tyler Breedlove, who has a shot at bringing home the individual title. Do they have enough at 2-5? Can they keep their pack closer? Gray Stone Day has had an excellent season, winning the Midwest Regional and winning the Cannon School Invitational. Their #5 will need to close the gap as well should they want a team title.

The individual title may come down to a kick just as the Midwest Regional did. Matus Kriska of Mt. Airy and Sean Kluttz of South Stanly went 1, 2 but Sean led much of the way with Matus closing on him in the end. Tyler Breedlove will also jump into that mix and has plenty of confidence after running in the hills of the mountains all season long. The Mideast Regional was won by Union’s Erasmo Ordonez in 16:26. Yes, the course is fast, but just how good is this guy. I honestly don’t know much about him so he has to be my sleeper in the boy’s race. Predictions

Top 5 Boys:
1) Matus Kriska, Mt. Airy
2) Sean Kluttz, South Stanly
3) Tyler Breedlove, Hayesville
4) Erasmo Ordonez, Union
5) Tyler Massey, Robbinsville

Top 5 Teams:
2) Robbinsville
3) Hayesville
4) Gray Stone Day
5) Lake Norman Charter

NCHSAA 2A Girls Preview

This may be the most outright team title among all the NCHSAA classifications. It definitely is on the girls side of things, as Chapel Hill’s boys look equally as strong. The Carrboro girls are very good! They have proved it at the Greensboro Invitational and then later at the Wendy’s Invitational. This team is led by a 9th grader, Grace Morken, who has run 19:04 this year and is also the individual favorite in the race. Could be a huge day for Carrboro.

The battle will most likely be for 2nd place in the girls’ competition. Two teams look to stand out from the rest among the other 2A schools and they are Croatan and North Lincoln. Lincoln County is producing some great runners right now in the 2A classification on the boys and girls side. North Lincoln will need their top ladies to run better than they did at the West Regional where their top 3 girls ran over 22:00. The next 3 for North Lincoln were just above 23:00. Croatan doesn’t really have a front runner either, and they too have about a minute gap from 1-5. At the East Regional their top 5 girls ran 21:01-22:04. So the question is, which 5/6 girls will have the better minute gap?

The individual race could be a good one. Grace Morken comes in as the favorite, but look for 2 other girls to run with her and push her for the title. North Henderson’s Caitie Byrd has had a great season and is running well, winning the West Regional easily. Also running well is Topsail’s Zatha Loewen. Zatha is a 1A state champion in XC but struggled a bit last year. She looks to be back should be ready to battle for the individual crown once again. Predictions

Top 5 Girls:
1) Grace Morken, Carrboro
2) Zatha Loewen, Topsail
3) Caitie Byrd, North Henderson
4) Laney Browder, Wilkes Central
5) Katherine Shields, Salisbury

Top 5 Teams:
1) Carrboro
2) Croatan
3) North Lincoln
4) Owen
5) Salisbury


This race could truly end a spectacular day for the team from Carrboro High School. On paper, the boys are also the favorites coming into the competition. However, this one won’t be nearly as easy as the girls’ race. Look for two other teams to be in the mix for the team title. Both Owen and Central Davidson have what it takes to win this and it will come down to who runs the best on this day. I don’t see one of these winning if someone in the top-5 has an off day. It’ll take special races from all individuals if a team victory is expected. The sleeper team could be East Lincoln.

 Carrboro has a solid team whose top 7 have run PR’s this season from 16:52 to 18:06. Owen MUST have a great race from their number 5 if they expect to challenge Carrboro’s depth for the title. Central Davidson may be the better of the next two teams, at least on paper, as they hold PR’s of 17:06-18:06. I’m excited for this one as it’s going to be a tight one and could come down to the 2nd time up the hill.

Individually, it looks like there could be a break by 3 runners at the front. Ben Sterett of Swansboro, Chase Miller of Wilkes Central, and Travis Franklin of Lincolnton all look to have great opportunities of winning this state meet. Beyond the top 3 it is going to be tough. There are probably another 10 athletes who could finish in the top 5. Here’s how I see it playing out. Predictions

Top 5 Boys:
1) Chase Miller, Wilkes Central
2) Ben Sterett, Swansboro
3) Travis Franklin, Lincolnton
4) Nick Summers, Salisbury
5) John Spencer Wolfe, Polk County

Top 5 Teams:
1) Carrboro
2) Central Davidson
3) Owen
4) East Lincoln
5) Cuthbertson

NCHSAA 3A Preview

The 3A girls race could honestly be won by about 6 girls. Rapp, Vezolles, Van Ord, McCauley, Hanson, or McLean. Sarah Rapp of Cardinal Gibbons missed a lot of the season but has been back for last month or so. She has steadily been improving every race. She lost to Chapel Hill’s Van Ord at their Conference Meet but then won the Mideast Regional by 5 seconds. I’m honestly leaning towards Sarah as she just continues to improve every week. Jamie Vezolles of Charlotte Catholic has had a great season, winning the Weddington Invitational, the Greensboro Invitational, the Midwest Regional and much more. She has been consistently running in the 19:0’s and has gained much experience running at the front. If the race comes down to a final sprint, Jamie has the 800m speed to win. Tristan Van Ord has been a bright spot for Ron Olson’s Chapel Hill team. Tristan is only a 9th grader but has been running fast all season. Beth Hanson of Fike, has she really been challenged? I’ve heard great things all season about how she’s been running, but now is the time to shine. Teal McLean of Hickory Ridge may be a sleeper in the race as she possesses all the necessary tools to win the race. Meagan McCauley of Jay M. Robinson is another one that probably not many know. Interesting fact, she’s jumped 34-05 in the triple jump! She dropped a big PR of 19:19 at the Midwest Regional so it looks like she’s running well at the right time.

All season the Chapel Hill girls have been the favorites, but Cardinal Gibbons only lost to them by 10 points at the regional. Looking at the times, if Cardinal Gibbons runs to their potential, this one could be a great team battle. Gibbons will need their 4th and 5th runners to close the gap on Chapel Hill’s if they want to take this one. Weddington and Marvin Ridge look to be the next two teams in the mix and they have traded off wins throughout the season. North Buncombe has been a bit under the radar all season and should be able to battle Charlotte Catholic for the #5 spot.

Top 5 Girls:
1) Sarah Rapp, Cardinal Gibbons
2) Jamie Vezolles, Charlotte Catholic
3) Tristan Van Ord, Chapel Hill
4) Megan McCauley, Jay M. Robinson
5) Beth Hanson, Fike

Top 5 Teams:
1) Chapel Hill
2) Cardinal Gibbons
3) Weddington
4) Marvin Ridge
5) Charlotte Catholic


Eastern Alamance’s Jake Hurysz has had an outstanding season thus far running a super-PR of 15:12 at the Wolfpack Invitational. He comes in as the favorite and should he have another solid race, it’s his. Isaac Presson of Asheville has had a great season as well and has plenty of experience. One of the newcomers to the top 5 should be Chris Colo of Marvin Ridge. Chris has come on as of late and is running extremely well. I witnessed him drop the field at Wingate and break 16:00 on a course that is truly not very fast. John Harwell of Asheville, Sean Magee & Mark Sullivan of Cardinal Gibbons, and Will Bass of Nash Central could all battle for those next few spots. There were others on the radar early, but some didn’t show so well at their regionals. Will Bass was out for much of the season but has made huge strides over the past few races and I look for him to be peaking at the right time.

Chapel Hill’s boys are dominant to say the least. This team is extremely deep and extremely young. They will be around for quite some time. Possibly the toughest thing for Chapel Hill may be for Coach Ron Olson . . . who is running in the top-7?

Cardinal Gibbons’ boys team may be joining their girls and bringing home a trophy. They are led by Magee and Sullivan who both could finish in the top 5. Asheville also has two top runners, but don’t have the depth as Gibbons. Eastern Alamance will be a team to watch. They have the talent through 1-4 to battle some of the top teams, but will need #5 to step up and run in the mid-17’s.  Charlotte Catholic has a solid pack and may have the 2nd best 1-5 split next to Chapel Hill. In a meet like this one, that pack could go a long way to a top team finish.

Top 5 Boys:
1) Jake Hurysz, Eastern Alamance
2) Isaac Presson, Asheville
3) Chris Colo, Marvin Ridge
4) Sean Magee, Cardinal Gibbons
5) Will Bass, Nash Central

Top 5 Teams:
1) Chapel Hill
2) Cardinal Gibbons
3) Marvin Ridge
4) Eastern Alamance
5) Charlotte Catholic


TC Roberson . . . Green Hope . . . Roberson . . . Green Hope? This is a tough question to answer right now. TCR has enough state titles in the 3A classification that it is easy to see Coach Culp knows how to peak his athletes. Sarah Hope had a huge race at regionals running 18:35 to make herself an incredible number 2 runner. Dubin and Gordon have had great races this season as well. On any given day any one of thsese 3 look like they could give Hoer some needed help at the front of a race. Green Hope has run very well, too. On paper these two teams match up very well. Green Hope has 4 girls who look like they could run together and finish in the top 15. That could be very tough. If Enright is running to her 18:35 caliber as she did earlier in the season and the top 3 from Regionals can keep together, look out. The scary thing is that none of their top 5 are seniors. McDonnell – 9th; Enright – 11th; Amatori – 10th; Rossabi – 10th; Colberg – 10th. TCR will most likely get 2 points from Hoer, but how many will number 5 get? This is the area where Green Hope could win the team battle. Should they squeeze their top 6 girls in before #5 of TCR they may have a chance to pull off the victory.

Carolyn Baskir of East Chapel Hill is the heavy favorite here with her 17:12 from earlier this year. Baskir is one of the top ranked individuals in the nation, but may have a little company during the race. Laura Hoer of TCR has also cracked 18:00 this season, albeit on the insanely fast course at the Unifour Invitational. She has proven herself time and time again this season to be one of the favorites in this meet. There are probably 10 other girls who could be in the mix for a top 5 finish beyond these two. The most likely 3rd candidate is Samantha George of Millbrook. I’m going to  keep it simple with my picks and stick to the 5 that most may pick.

Top 5 Girls:
1) Carolyn Baskir, East Chapel Hill
2) Laura Hoer, TC Roberson
3) Samantha George, Millbrook
4) Kaitlyn Kramer, Ardrey Kell
5) Kersie Jhabvala, Apex

Top 5 Teams:
1) TC Roberson
2) Green Hope
3) Watauga
4) West Johnston
5) Terry Sanford


This individual competition may be one of the most exciting in quite some time. Blake Williams, Reidy Jones, Mohamed Abushouk, Patrick Crawford, Josh Cox, Jared Neely, Jack Anderson, & Bryan Spreitzer all have a shot at this. No one has really jumped up and labeled himself as the person to beat. Reidy has been incredibly consistant this year, which bodes well for him on Saturday. I believe this could easily be the best fight for first among all the classifications and all the state meets.

The same can be said for the team competition. West Johnston threw it down at McAlpine this year, but Tanglewood is not McAlpine. Broughton has shown up as of late and defeated the one time #1 ranked Sanderson team a couple times. Green Hope is solid, Ardrey Kell is solid, and Sanderson is obviously solid. At one time the Mideast looked to be a little less talented than usual, but now they still look like they could put 3 in the top 5. Possibly even better than that!

Top 5 Boys:
1) Blake Williams, Northern Durham
2) Reidy Jones, Broughton
3) Patrick Crawford, East Forsyth
4) Bryan Spreitzer, Green Hope
5) Jared Neely, Mount Tabor

Top 5 Teams:
1) Broughton
2) West Johnston
3) Sanderson
4) Green Hope
5) Ardrey Kell