Elly Henes of Green Hope earned a spot in the Nike Cross Nationals last weekend with her third-place finish in the Southeast Regional race at Carys WakeMed Park.
The top two teams and the top five individuals qualified for the national championships on Dec. 7 in Beaverton, Ore.
Henes finished the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 48.1 seconds. Nora McUmber of Bethesda, Md., won in 17:34.30 and Ellie Gonzalez of Baltimore, Md., was second in 17:47.00.
Elly has really come into her own, Green Hope coach Mike Miragliuolo said. At the start of the summer she did not realize how good she could be, but she trained very well. At the Greensboro Invitational she had a breakout race (18:18) where she surprised herself a bit with her time.
Then she ran a huge personal best at the state meet (17:42) to help us win the title. She has a great attitude and is a tough competitor.
Miragliulo said the team did not have a particularly good race Saturday.
It was disappointing because we have had better races, but it is a long season from the start of summer training in June until the Nike Race at the end of November, he said. It is tough to predict how things will go.
N.C. High School Athletic Association teams cannot compete as high school teams after the state championships so the Green Hope girls ran as Western Wake.
They narrowly missed qualifying as a team. The top two teams qualified for the national. The Green Hope girls were third with 100 points. Assumption, Ky., (55 points) and Blacksburg (Va.) High (67 points) qualified.
The Broughton boys, competing as the Capital Distance Club, also finished third (156 points) behind Brentwood (Tenn.) Cross County (109) and Severna Park (Md.) Cross Country (110).
We ran all right, Broughton coach Dave Christian said. All the regional No.3 finishers were considered for at-large invitations, but we, unfortunately, did not receive an at-large bid so our season ended on Saturday.
I am proud of the accomplishments and hard work of these guys. We are looking forward to the indoor and outdoor track season and further developing the young runners we will need to accomplish our goals next cross country season.
Kittelberger to Dartmouth: Ravenscroft golfer Jessica Kittelberger has signed with Dartmouth. She won the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference golf championship by seven strokes and was named conference player of the year and made the all-conference team.
She was the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state champion as a junior.
Fast start: Duke womens basketball recruit Azura Stevens is off to a fast start for Cary. A 6-foot-4 forward, she is averaging 36.7 points and 14.7 rebounds for the 3-0 Imps.
Go to http://www.newsobserver.com/high-school-sports/ to check on area scoring, rebounding and assist leaders in boys and girls basketball. Players are not eligible for the listings until they play three games.