The individual title coming in was wide open on the boys side of the adidas XC Challenge Championship field with top athletes traveling to WakeMed from all over the Southeast Region as well as Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Noah Valyo (Athens Drive) was one of the contenders coming in after rolling at Friday Night Lights last week in 15:14. Heading to a faster course and a slightly stronger field up front, breaking 15 was certainly in play. Ty Steorts (Hurricane, WV) had run 15:03 and was a top finisher here a year ago.
As the race got underway the field flew down the starting hill at WakeMed which always makes for a fast first mile before ascending back up the hill for the first time. Valyo and Steorts sat up front with Colin Whitaker (Lampeter Strasburg) as the field went through 2K in 5:53 with 21 boys within 10 seconds of them. Other notable NC names up front early were Luke Liming (Cary), Dawson Reeves (Christ School), Jack Anstrom (Seaforth) and Eli Julian (South Rowan).
Calvert Hall College(MD) got out well and led the charge in pursuit to the team title with 133 points through 2K with four in the top 20 of the team-scoring athletes. Nease (FL) sat in second with 199 points just ahead of Christian Brothers (TN), Marvin Ridge, Hoggard and Broughton.
The front of the field began to string out slightly as they ascended the hill and began the rolling hills in the woods of the park. The front had Steorts and Valyo pushing the pace up front clocking 9:34 through the 2 Mile split. Whitaker was just a few steps behind with Anstrom, Liming, Aaron Kidd (Hurricane, WV), Reeves and Tyler Surface (NRCA) who moved up amongst the lead pack over the climb.
Calvert Hall only improved their team score going up the hill with 113 team points and a 10:03 1-5 average. Nease would hold a lead in the race that looked to be for second with 191 team points as Marvin Ridge and Hoggard were slightly inching closer to Christian Brothers with just over a mile to go. Blacksburg (VA) had five boys within 8 seconds of each other and were ascending moving up to 6th.
Steorts was able to gap Valyo down the rolling hills and back up the hill leading to the finish line and take the win in an impressive 14:38. Whitaker would get a step on Valyo to finish as runner-up in 14:42 with Valyo in third in 14:48. Liming would win the battle for third as a group of 5, including Kidd, Surface, Cameron Davis (Calvert Hall) and Anstrom would just dip under the 15:00 mark.
Calvert Hall College was able to maintain its lead position as the race came to a close scoring 122 points as a team lead by a 7-12 finish from Cameron Davis and Rei Rahsaan Nettey running 14:59 and 15:22 respectively. They'd average 15:38 with their whole top 5 finishing under 16:15.
Nease would hold onto second scoring 202 points led by Matt Ryan in 10th at 15:02. Marvin Ridge would move up 24 points as David Rivlin and David Firestone improved from 32nd and 38th in the team scorers to 21st and 22nd over the last 1.1 miles. The Mavericks would score 226 points, with a 16:05 average to move ahead of Christian Brothers who would hold off a rising Blacksburg for 4th scoring 244 to 249.