Johnston teams, Knightdale’s Cruz atop SSS Invitational
South Johnston’s Jacob Gonzalez led the way in the SSS Spartans Cross Country Invitational Sept. 27 at Smithfield Community Park.
Gonzalez, a sophomore who finished in the top 10 at last year’s 3A state championships, clocked in at 16 minutes, 52 seconds. Clayton’s Alex Roy was second at 17:10.
Cleveland’s Wyatt Dershem and Gable Dershem were third and fourth, respectively, leading the Rams to the team victory with 47 points. Clayton was second (71) and Western Harnett (81) took third. Knightdale was fourth, South Johnston fifth and Nash Central sixth.
Smithfield-Selma’s Caleb Silver finished sixth individually in 18:16.
Clayton won the girls team title, six points ahead of Knightdale (66-60). Western Harnett took third, Cleveland was fourth and Smithfield-Selma sixth. East Wake Academy finished sixth.
Knightdale’s Aleena Cruz (22:24) won the girls race, despite missing a turn and running significantly farther than the other competitors.
“Aleena hasn’t run a (22-minute race) in a long time,” said Knightdale coach Mark Batey. “She’s been running in the low 20’s and recently ran a 19:47 at our home course.
“It’s fair to say she was so far out in front and didn’t know which way to go. On the second loop around the park, she took the wrong turn and ended up running probably more than a quarter of a mile longer than the other girls.”
Knightdale’s Rebecca Davis (22:41) finished second in the girls race. Smithfield-Selma freshman Gwyn Reese took third. Cleveland runners Jessica Cullins (23:54) and Jasmine Cullins (24:03) rounded out the top five individual finishers.
Clayton’s pack of four runners – Brooklyn Barbour, Nicole Fentem, Sarah Rebbeer and Samantha Nelson – who finished 16-20th made the difference in the team competition. Veronica Villasuso led the Comets with an eighth place finish (24:33) and Katherine Riley was 13th.
Ocracoke and Southside in Chocowinity drew special awards because they have not had an ejection during the past 10 years.
Area schools that had no ejections last year:
Apex, Broughton, Bunn, Cary, Corinth Holders, East Wake Academy, Erwin Triton, Franklin Academy, Granville Central, Green Hope, Durham Science & Math, Neuse Charter, Northern Vance, Northwest Halifax, Orange, Oxford Webb, Raleigh Charter, Research Triangle, Rolesville, Roxboro Community, Southeast Halifax, Southern Durham and Durham Voyager.