Kernersville, North Carolina - Saturday morning the top middle school teams and clubs battled it out at Ivey Redmon Sports Complex for the NCRunners Middle School XC Festival. The event serves as the state championship for middle school teams and individuals and is only open to North Carolina athletes.
Kicking off the action in the morning was the Boys Championship race. Eighth-grader Joshua Palmer of Parkwood Middle School had gone 7 for 7 in winning races this season and did the same on Saturday leading the way over the 2 Mile course in 10:35. Palmer's mark was just 4 seconds off Cam Kuss' meet and course record from last years event and sits him second in both metrics. Gavin Clewley of Without Limits Triangle was able to pull away from Ryan Wulinsky (Marvin Ridge Middle), Nathan Vo (Without Limits Triangle) and Raymond Halstead Jr (Mooresville, NC) to round out the top 5 finishers.
The top 15 below were awarded All-State in the Boys Championship race.
|1||Joshua PALMER||8||Parkwood Middle School||10:35.30|
|2||Gavin Clewley||8||Without Limits Triangle||10:50.40|
|3||Ryan WULINSKY||8||Marvin Ridge Middle School||10:58.50|
|4||Nathan Vo||8||Without Limits Triangle||10:59.20|
|5||Raymond Halstead Jr||8||Unattached NC||11:01.10|
|6||Xamuel Wachacha||8||Unattached NC||11:04.40|
|7||Archer Rolph||8||Weddington MS||11:09.00|
|8||Eli Sloop||6||Lewisville Middle School||11:12.60|
|9||Noah Dexter||8||Lewisville Middle School||11:12.70|
|10||Samuel Neil||8||Without Limits Triangle||11:13.70|
|11||Charlie Mangum||8||North Durham Distance Run Club||11:15.00|
|12||Jackson KERR||8||Charlotte Latin||11:16.00|
|13||Dominic Lorelle||8||Without Limits Triangle||11:16.80|
|14||James Loftis||8||Swain CTE Run Club||11:23.90|
|15||Jackson Hentz||8||High Point Blaze||11:30.30|
Lewisville Middle School won the Boys School Team Championship with 44 points led by 6th grader Eli Sloop and 8th grader Noah Dexter finishing 8th and 9th respectively both in 11:12. Cuthbertson MS would hold off Union County rivals Marvin Ridge MS for 2nd with 73 points.
Without Limits Triangle claimed their second consecutive title scoring 26 points on the club side with Run Cabarrus taking 2nd with 48 points.
In the girls Championship race it was 8th grader Kaitlyn Estep from Without Limits Triangle defending her title shattering her own course record running 11:19 for 2 Miles. Estep had run 18:11 this season at Great American for 5K and has proven over the last two years to be one of the best middle schoolers in North Carolina history and currently one of the best in the country.
Estep improved on her 11:37 mark earlier in the year from Friday Night Lights as well as her winning mark from a year ago of 11:51. While it's only year two of the event's history it's likely a meet record that'll last for a long time.
Weddington MS' Emma Balaban took home second place the second-fastest mark in course history. Elle Dawson (High Point Blaze) finished 3rd just off her personal best of 11:41 clocking 11:44 just outkicking a tight battle with Cali Townsend (Watauga Middle) and Grace Krafchek (Weddington MS) who ran 11:45 and 11:47 respectively. The entire top 5 was faster than Estep's mark in 2022 and each sits in the Ivey Redmon top 5 marks at the facility.
The top 15 below were awarded All-State in the Girls Championship race.
|1||Kaitlyn Estep||8||Without Limits Triangle||11:19.90|
|2||Emma Balaban||8||Weddington MS||11:37.20|
|3||Elle Dawson||8||High Point Blaze||11:44.00|
|4||Cali Townsend||8||Watauga Middle School||11:45.40|
|5||Grace KRAFCHEK||7||Weddington MS||11:47.50|
|6||Anneka Hill||8||Without Limits Triangle||11:56.50|
|7||Ndanu Pope||7||High Point Blaze||12:09.90|
|8||Savannah GENTILLE||8||Marvin Ridge Middle School||12:13.70|
|9||Hope Julian||8||Unattached NC||12:18.20|
|10||Madelyn RANKIN||7||Marvin Ridge Middle School||12:29.10|
|11||Cameron HINSON||8||Cuthbertson MS||12:30.70|
|12||Ella McCall||8||Chapel Hill Cheetahs||12:33.70|
|13||June Leis||8||Cane Creek Middle School||12:35.00|
|14||Isabella Riley||8||Run Cabarrus||12:35.90|
|15||Amelia Clewley||6||Without Limits Triangle||12:40.80|
Marvin Ridge Middle School girls posted a strong performance on the girls side scoring 37 team points led by Savannah Gentille finishing 8th overall and Madelyn Rankin 10th overall. Marvin Ridge had just a 46-second 1-5 spread and a team average of 12:40.
Cuthbertson's 3rd runner was just 2 seconds ahead of Watauga's 3rd, Watauga's 4th runner was just 1 second ahead of Cuthbertson's 4th, and Watauga's 5th was just one spot and 5 seconds ahead of Cuthbertson's 5th and 6th runners.
Wrapping up the competition was the grade-level races with one for each grade. Nate Lauten (Revolution Academy) won the boys 8th-grade race in 12:29 while Sarah Reynolds of Wake Prep Academy won on the girls side in 12:55.