CARY — WakeMed Park was already a familiar track for a few local private schools entering Friday’s N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association cross country championships.
But from now on, the Raleigh Grace Christian boys and Cary Academy girls can look back at their “home course” with fond memories of winning state titles.
Grace’s boys won their second straight title by crushing the 2A field, while the Chargers won 3A girls with just one finisher in the top 10.
The town of Cary course was pretty good to Durham Academy sophomore Eliza Dekker as well, as she won the 3A girls title by posting a time of 18:10.16.
“We knew we had the pieces,” said Cary Academy coach Conrad Hall. “But we had to put it all together on the same day.”
Cary Academy’s girls didn’t have a runner cross the finish line until Emma Astrike-Davis came in 10th, followed by Spencer Rossa (11th) and Ashley Miller (12th).
When Anna Mukamal and Hannah Goetz came across the finish line at 16th and 19th, respectively, the Chargers sealed the win with 63 team points. Ravenscroft was runner-up with 72 points, led by third-place finisher Maddy Ringenbach.
The Chargers, who last won a girls cross country title in 2005, had finished third in the previous two years.
“We’ve been building towards this,” Hall said. “We had good leadership last year, and we were just on the cusp of it.”
Grace Christian’s boys had overwhelming depth. Alex Dolwick (third), Ian MacPherson (fourth), Mike Taylor (eighth), Aaron Baker (12th) and Will Sossoman (16th) helped the Eagles crush the field with 43 team points. The next closest team was Asheville Christian, which had 126.
“We had seven guys who were sub-18:30, and that’s just phenomenal for our guys,” said Grace Christian coach Charlie Murphy. “We had two guys who didn’t qualify who were just about 30 seconds behind, so I feel good about our depth. And we’re a young team.”
Cary Christian’s boys finished fourth in the 2A race with 185 points.
Asheville Christian’s girls ended Cary Christian’s title reign, edging the three-time defending champions 75-92. The Lady Knights’ runner-up finish was led by seventh-grader Marissa Bishop (second, 20:08.15). Grace Christian’s Katarina Pibl was third, while St. David’s Maggie O’Hara took sixth.
“She’s quiet-mannered, but she practices as hard as she races,” said Cary Christian coach Greg Goodwin of Bishop. “She’s got a maturity, in terms of cross country racing, way beyond her years.”
Cary Academy (80 points) took third in the 3A boys race, losing to only Charlotte Providence Day (66) and Asheville School (77). The Chargers, who enjoyed four straight individual 3A championships by Thomas Graham, were one place away from a fifth straight winner as senior Colin Godwin (15:45.35) was runner-up.
North Raleigh Christian’s Ryan Speer was fifth, followed by Cary Academy’s Josh Mitchell (sixth).
In the first year where 1A championships have been separated from the 2A, Hickory Christian swept titles by defeating eight other boys teams and four other girls teams.
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps