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.
Johnston County runners also advanced to the state championships in the 4A and 1A ranks.
Princeton’s girls were the lone area team to qualify as a team for next week’s championships in Kernersville. The Bulldogs finished fourth.
West Johnston standout Kyle Christ advanced in the 4A ranks and Princeton sophomore Austin Sullivan moved on from the 1A race.
4A Mideast: Christ was fourth in the 4A race, finishing in 15 minutes, 52.2 seconds.
“I had to lead a lot of the race, but my legs feel fine. It’s always great having someone push you along,” Christ said. “I think I’m really ready for the state meet.”
Clayton junior Alex Roy finished 15th in the race, missing out on the final individual state championship bid by about two seconds. He clocked in at 16:20.9. West Johnston’s Chris Perez was 30th.
West Johnston was eighth in the boys team standings and Southeast Raleigh took 11th. Clayton finished 18th and Garner was 19th.
Rufus Brown and Seth Byrd of West Johnston were 47th and 48th, respectively. Klein Evans ran 90th for Clayton in 18:13.8.
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. Wake Forest’s Kayla Holder was runner-up and qualified as an individual along with Cary’s Cayla Rodney and Sarah Venable, Broughton’s Ayla Gizlice and Enloe’s Cierra Della Rova.
1A Mideast: The North Central Athletic Conference led the way in the 1A regional. 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.
Princeton’s girls earned their state meet bid with three runners finishing in the top 25, led by Altheia Balageo who was 17th in 23:09. Chelsea Hawley took 23rd (23:46.1) and Megan Evans (23:49.9) was 24th.
Amber Johnson (25:01) was 37th for Princeton, while Elizabeth Cole was 47th and Kassandra Velasquez finished 49th. Jasmine Rubio rounded out the Bulldog group of runners in 31:56.1.
The Bulldog boys’ team was fifth in the region, 39 points behind Voyager Academy for the final 1A championship team.
Jose Aguillon, running on an injured ankle, was 19th for Princeton in 18:35.1. Jose Moreno finished 22nd for Princeton (18:38.5), while Brent Hurst was 33rd (19:08.9). Hunter Mitch (20:11.2), Joseph Hatcher (21:37.8) and Martin Bayles (22:28) rounded out the Bulldogs’ contingent.
2A East: At the 2A East regional in Washington, sophomore Meghan Sherrod was the highest finishing North Johnston runner. She was 40th in the girls race in 24:29. North took 11th in the girls team standings. Noah Barnes (109th, 23:00) was the highest finishing Panthers’ boys runner.
D. Clay Best contributed.