There is little doubt some future state champions crossed the line in each of the N.C. High School Athletic Association cross country Mideast regionals – 4A, 3A and 1A – held at WakeMed Park on Saturday.
There were dominating performances by state powers like the Broughton boys and Green Hope girls in 4A, as well Cardinal Gibbons’ boys’ and girls’ teams in 3A. In 1A, it was one conference that stood tall.
The top-4 teams, and top-5 individual runners not on one of those teams, qualified for the state meet, marking the end of the road for eastern Wake County runners.
4A Mideast: Broughton’s boys placed five runners in the top 10, scoring 27 points – well ahead of runner-up Apex’s 99. Jeremy Brown (15:28.70) was the winner by 11 seconds over Cary’s Dean Abushouk.
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Green Hope’s girls (31 points) had five in the top 10 as well to win their seventh straight 4A regional, led by junior Elly Hene’s first-place (17:53.10) finish. The Falcons will try to make it six straight in 4A states.
The Millbrook (139) and Green Hope (141) boys also qualified for the state meet as did Abushouk, his Cary teammate Matt Thornton, West Johnston’s Kyle Christ and Sanderson’s Dylan Tafel and Jose Rosas.
The Leesville Road girls (74) were runners-up and will be joined in states by Panther Creek (141) and Millbrook (143), which edged Apex by one point.
In girls action, Knightdale’s Aleena Cruz placed 37th (20:25.6) and was followed by teammates Rebecca Davis (21:03), Emma McClellan (24:45), Sara Woodard (25:01.7) and Ishary Lopez (25:22.6).
Ian Mbogo placed 60th at 17:25.5 to lead a Knightdale boys pack rounded out by Andre Ray (17:38), Nick Lopez (19:11.9), Michael Ortiz (19:54.4), Bobby Samuels (21:46.5) and Jose Pelayo (22.00.5).
East Wake’s boys competing in the regional were Eduardo Castallanos (19:23.7), Ryan Ackley (19:30.1), Montre Holmes (21:52.8), Cameron Rudder (21:58.8), Tyler Barabasz (23:59.3) and Omar Ahmed (24:11.1).
3A Mideast: Cardinal Gibbons’ boys and girls followed a similar pattern – earn medalist honors, place five in the top 10 and win the regional a spot ahead of Chapel Hill.
Gibbons, Chapel Hill and Northern Guilford qualified both of their teams. Cedar Ridge’s boys and Orange’s boys also qualified.
1A Mideast: The North Central Athletic Conference led the way. The nine-team charter school conference saw Franklin Academy’s girls (68 points) win the title behind the dominance of Hannah Zenker and Research Triangle’s boys win (44 points) with medalist Madison Daniel and four of the top seven.
The other girls qualifying teams including Whiteville (95), Raleigh Charter (105) and Princeton (137). The other boys qualifying teams were Raleigh Charter (79), Woods Charter (90) and Voyager Academy (92).
Ashley Johnson led the East Wake Academy girls with a time of 23:34 to place 20th. Rounding out the Eagles’ girls were Ilaina Hertzig (26:12.9), Sarah Brown (26:54.2), Skylar Kittrell (28:29.9), Emily Stacy (28:58.4), Savanah Mitchell (29:22.5) and Hope Turner (29:52.3).
Colby Weatherspoon paced East Wake Academy’s boys, finishing 55th at 20:12. He was trailed by teammates Nathan Rowley (21:30.6), Cody Hunt (21:33.1), Andrew Bryant (22:08.4), Carson Brooks (22:24.2), Nathan Casper (22:57.8) and Jacob Bouren (26:58.4).
Staff writer Aaron Moody contributed.