The NCISAA took on the speedy, but intimidating WakeMed Soccer Park this morning and afternoon. Conditions were hot and humid causing for slower times than we usually see in Cary, but we still saw many outstanding performances by teams and athletes all day long!
Kicking off the morning was junior Caroline Barton of Carolina Day School who defended her title from 2022. This time in dominating fashion running 18:17 to win by 40 seconds ahead of Hickory Christian Academy junior Cate Hata who took 2nd in 18:57. Barton holds a season best that is the 6th fastest mark in North Carolina this season of 17:36 and came into the state championships as the heavy favorite.
Hata threw down a major PR in her second-place efforts improving by 32 seconds from her previous 19:29 best. Madison Sledge of University Christian won a close battle for 3rd in 19:32 kicking past Sophie Ratcliff of Davidson Day with Jessica Worden of Carolina Day not far behind.
Davidson Day would take home the team title behind a strong performance from their 1-4 each finishing in the top 24 as well as having the best fifth runner in the field to score 108 points with a 21:36 team average. Hickory Christian had a strong 2-10 finish from their top 2 to just edge Trinity Academy of Raleigh 149 to 154 for 2nd overall.
Sophomore Hunter Riffey from Caldwell Academy took home the 2A title matching his season best of 16:01 to win by 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Holden Rozof of Carolina Day. Riffey improved from his 3rd place finish as a freshman.
Davidson Day boys brought out the broomsticks for a 2A sweep alongside the girls win scoring 92 points with a 18:12 average. DDS placed their top 4 in the top 14 of the 2A field which was good enough to put four runners ahead of every school's second runner other than Caldwell Academy. Carolina Day had a strong pack to not be too far off for 2nd overall with 117 points ahead of St. Thomas More who edged Hickory Christian for third 150 to 153.
Davidson College commit Abby Smith of Asheville School had finished third place in both 2021 and 2022, but finally was finally able to claim the individual title today clocking 18:40. Smith went out hard early in the race and was able to distance herself far enough ahead of runner-up Tori Stonebraker of Cary Christian who set a new personal best in of 18:57. Sophomore Mia Fitzsimmons of Forsyth Country Day School fended off the field for third overall in 19:16 with Kylie Petrides of Cape Fear Academy and Miranda Short of Coastal Christian just behind in 19:23 and 19:34 respectively.
Led by Stonebraker's runner-up finish, Cary Christian was able to defend their team title scoring 85 points with a 20:20 team average. Cape Fear Academy had a strong day as runner-ups just edging Forsyth Country Day 95 to 99.
In the boys race Forsyth Country Day sophomore duo of George Lawson and John Templeton brought home a 1-2 finish each with new PR's of 15:51 and 15:54. Lawson's mark just a second faster than his season best, while Templeton had a 26 second season best on the day it mattered the most. Sophomore Corban Cazier of Coastal Christian hung on for third place in 16:13 while Asheville Christian freshman Reynolds Young held off Milo Horton of Grace Christian (Raleigh) for 4th in 16:30 to 16:34.
The Furies 1-2 finish up front would be too much for the field to match as they placed their top 6 runners in the top 24 of the race with a 17:00 team average. This was two straight team title for FCDS. Coastal Christian would finish as runners-up for the second straight year only having 5 runners finish with a 17:30 team average scoring 90 points.
The 4A favorites as teams and individuals had been back and forth all season long. But just as we saw last week at the CISAA Conference meet, senior Morgan Boonshaft of Providence Day finally was crowned NCISAA XC State Champion with a near PR of 17:34. The mark is the fifth fastest in North Carolina all season long for all classifications and associations. The conditions were very hot and muggy with the meet being delayed due to athletes struggling from the conditions. Just looking at other performances around this time in the event Boonshaft's mark might be 15-20 seconds faster on a better weather day.
Annie Miller of Metrolina Chrisitan would kick past Covenant Day freshman Caitlin Kasten to finish 2nd each at 18:12. Providence Day had a strong day from their 2nd and 3rd runners Carly Arrington and Blane McElroy finishing 4th and 5th overall.
Behind that finish for the Chargers was Sophia Powell and Devin McElroy finishing 15th and 16th overall. PDS did not come into the meet as the favorites after losing to Charlotte Country Day at their conference meet a week ago, but put everything together when it mattered most to run a team average fo 18:50 and win in dominating fashion with 41 points. Charlotte Country Day would hold off Charlotte Latin for a runner-up finish scoring 83 points to Latin's 94.
The 4A boys battle was the most exciting of the day with two of North Carolina's best battling in North Raleigh Christian's Tyler Surface and Christ School's Dawson Reeves. Additionally, the team battle was as tightly contested as you could ask for with 5 teams with a nearly equal shot to take home the title.
Surface and Reeves were side by side coming up the hill the first time, but it was Surface who was able to pull away over the back half of the race clocking 15:21 for the individual title. Reeves would hold on for second in 15:36 followed by fellow senior teammate Eyob Gill who had his best race of the season in 3rd in 15:46. Colden Welsh of Covenant Day would break 16 minutes as well to finish 4th with sophomore Kavi Gibson of Cary Academy holding off fellow TISAC sophomore Henry Baker for 5th in 16:08, a battle we get to see for the next two years for likely gold.
Charlotte Country Day had a massive day from the 1-2-3 Luke Terrell, Cameron Brown and Hunter Wilkerson finishing 7-8-9 respectively. Providence Day would have no all-state (top 11) runners, but were led by seniors Zach Makemson and Austin Skeete taking 12th and 14th overall. The Chargers would place 5 in the top 24 to be the first school with five through the line which proved to be a winning strategy. After finishing third in their conference meet a week ago, Providence Day edged the field with 87 points with Charlotte Country Day fending off Christ School for 2nd 90-91. Just behind was Covenant Day with 105 points and 109 points from Cary Academy.
Providence Day's fifth man Chris Duffy would finish ahead of every other schools fourth. Zach Makemson, who was first for PDS, was their 7th man a week ago finishing 16th at their conference meet. But the 1:52 800m runner would step up when it mattered most to led his squad to victory.
Providence Day Coach Ben Hovis had the below to say about his girls and boys upset performances.
"I'm super proud of how both teams performed. They believed that winning was possible, and they followed the game plan to perfection. We knew spots 2 and 3 on the girls were crucial. Three in the top five was amazing.
For the guys, it was about staying in touch with one another like they've done all season. The gap of 27 seconds for 1-5 was clutch, especially without anyone in the top 10. It was just an amazing day. One that I'll be telling stories about forever. A lot of great lessons learned."
Oakwood freshman Eloise Clark would take victory in a tight 1A race by just 8 second in 22:32. Just behind was Leanna Wimsatt of Crossroads Christian School narrowly beating Martha Ann Crotts in 22:40 to 22:41.
On the team side, the small schools only score 3 runners and many barely have that. Lee Christian School and Bradford Academy each would score 17 points and make it come down to a 4th girl tiebreaker. Lee Christian would finish with four in the top 8 led by Madison Mashburn in fourth overall. Madison Yow's 8th place finish was enough to displace Bradford Academy's 3rd runner and break the tie for the team title.
Sophomore Jayden Chapman of Victory Christian Center would take home the individual title in 18:03 ahead of Oakwood's Caden Ellis who ran 18:22 for runner-up. James Merchan of Lee Chrisitan would take third in 18:30.
On the team side it was Oakwood who would finish 2-8-10 for 20 team points to take a commanding team title over Crossroads Christian who edged New Garden Friends 34 to 37 for second overall.