Depth trumps all in cross country. That’s good news for the Apex boys, who won the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference title last year and took third in the state.
The Cougars lose their top two runners but have nice depth with junior Erik Salgado and seniors Wyatt Miller, Jonathan Seith and Jordan Kokoska all finishing the 4A meet with times of 17:01 or faster.
NCrunners.com projects Apex’s top seven runners being separated by 1 minute, 1 second. These Cougars could race in one pack if they wanted.
Cary was SWAC runner-up last year.
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The Imps will be led by senior Dean Abushouk, who was 11th overall in the 4A state meet and second in the SWAC. He should be one of the state’s top runners this year and could carry on a family tradition of winning the conference title – just like older brothers Bakri and Mohammed.
Cary returns junior Andrew Ray and sophmore James Lundergan, both top-25 in the league last year.
Green Hope (third in SWAC, sixth in 4A) loses its top four runners from last year’s team. The Falcons will reload with junior Henry Pehr, sophomore Carter Lux and others.
Junior Alec Carlson, ninth in the SWAC, gives Panther Creek, fourth in the SWAC, its top returning runner.
Middle Creek junior Jack Cawley will hope to make it to states this season. He was sixth in the SWAC last year for the Mustangs, who finished fifth. Junior Seth Eslinger also returns.
Sophomore Gavin Kinkead was the top runner for Holly Springs (sixth in SWAC) last season.
Fuquay-Varina (seventh in SWAC) will be led by senior Parker Lee (seventh in SWAC), who qualified for the 4A state title before finishing 38th.
Athens Drive (eighth in SWAC) returns its top runner from a year ago in junior Kevin Page.