This race will feature two strong duos, Gable and Wyatt Dershem (Cleveland) and John Tatter and Todd Holbrook (RJ Reynolds). Gable Dershem comes into the meet with the fastest PR on the season, but just last weekend was beaten by his twin brother Wyatt last weekend at the Wendell Park Early Bird Invite. Holbrook and Tatter recently raced a 2 Mile at the Norman Traskoma Invtational on Wednesday where they went 1-2. Holbrook was very solid last track season in the 3200 with podium finished both indoors and out at the 4A State Meet. Holbrook holds a PR of 16:07 that is waiting to be broken this season. Gavin Kinkead (Holly Springs) comes in next on the Virtual Meet, but his coach says he and other top guys will not race due to a virus spreading through their team. Kyle Fawzi (Panther Creek) had a strong track season running 1:56 and 4:25. He was 7th against a strong field at the BaySix Kickoff and could have a break out race on the XC course this weekend. Ben Verchick (Union Pines) had a very strong freshman season and was the top overall freshman in NC on the XC course last season. He won at the Tiger Challenge 3K a few weeks back and should be up with the front group come Saturday Night.
We will get to see a lot of ranked teams debut this weekend, 5 of which are ranked in our Saucony Flo50 Team Rankings. #6 Chapel Hill and #8 Panther Creek headline the field, but #13 RJ Reynolds looked a lot stronger than expected in their 2 Mile on Wednesday where they beat Mt. Tabor by 27 points. We knew they had a strong top 2 in T. Holbrook and Tatter, but Thomas Anthony, Jack Holbrook, and Anderson Ward came out of the summer in great shape. Chapel Hill are hungry after having last weeks meet cancelled and are ready to prove themselves. Panther Creek was a top 10 team in NC that ended up missing out on the state meet finishing 5th at regionals. They return the majority of that team and have a ton of potential to be a top team in NC this year. #11 Holly Springs unfortunately won't be at full strength this weekend. Hoggard just entered the rankings at #25 last week after showing a lot of promise at their first few meets. Senior Jamie Witmer looks to lead them to success this season.
Sara Platek looks to defend her title from last season where she dominated running 17:39 winning by over a minute, but don't think Katherine Dokholyan (Chapel Hill) and Melissa Zammitti (Davidson Day) are going to let her run away with it. Platek comes in at #2, Zammitti at #5, and Dokholyan at #6 in our Saucony Flo50 Girls Rankings. Dokholyan had a really strong track season and almost took home an individual title on the track where she was second in the Outdoor 1600. She is also the runner up for the NCHSAA 3A State XC Meet last season. Zammitti was a monster this track season running 2:13, 4:56 and 10:55. Three other girls featured in our top 25 rankings are Clare McNamara (Chapel Hill), Natalie Tyner (Laney), and Janay Hall (South View). McNamara was right behind Dokholyan at the 3A State Meet last season where she took 3rd. Natalie Tyner had a strong freshman season and already has PRed in both races she ran in this season! Janay Hall was 5th amongst a strong field at the Providence Invite last weekend, and is looking to defend her home turf this weekend.
Chapel Hill girls should dominate the team race as their entire as top 5 comes in the top 15 in our virtual meet. I wouldn't be surprised if they did even better than that this weekend. They have an extremely deep program and should be up front in all races they have athletes entered in. They are currently ranked at #2 in NC but very well could of been ranked #1 preseason and will be out to prove that this weekend. #23 Laney is a sleeper program this season and look to be one runner short of being really strong this season. If they are able to shorten their 4-5 gap they should be a strong contender for the runner-up position. Other teams to keep an eye on are New Hanover, Panther Creek and South View. South View didn't look as strong as we thought last weekend at Providence, but it is extremely possible they could have had an off day in the heat. As the boys team, the girls team at Holly Spring will also not be at full strength due to the same virus that has plagued their team so far.