A dynasty isn’t made by winning championships alone. The namesake is cemented when there is no end to the success in sight.
Green Hope girls cross country is officially a dynasty.
The streak of five straight NCHSAA 4A state championships could easily go to six this year because the Falcons return their entire top seven, led by third-place 4A finisher Elly Henes (17:42.88 in the state meet), a junior.
Also returning are senior Theresa Enright (14th, 18:25.09), junior Katie Tomasi (19th), senior Elisa Sargent (33rd) and sophomores Reilly Caldwell, Kelly Fitzgerald and Sarah Taylor.
The next-best teams in the SWAC last year, runner-up Cary and third-place Apex, narrowly missed qualifying their teams for states.
Cary, which returns its top four in Cayla Rodney, Sarah Venable, Sarah Hoffert and Molly Campbell, was sixth in the Mideast regional (only the top four advance).
Apex, which was fifth in the regional, returns five of its top seven yet is still a young team. Samantha Malone is the only senior while Cara Gaudioso, Allison Rosen, Elie Rivera and Savannah Dupree are all underclassmen.
Panther Creek’s Rebekah Greengrass, a senior, won the SWAC individual crown last year but finished behind Henes and others at the state meet, taking 22nd overall. The Catamounts, fourth in the SWAC, are also bringing back junior Bridgette Sullivan (eighth in SWAC).
Middle Creek (fifth in SWAC) returns their top two: sophomore Isabelle Holliday and junior Laura Perron.
Holly Springs (sixth in SWAC) will be led by last year’s No. 2 runner, sophomore Katie Kent.
Elina Spradlin, a senior, returns as the top runner for Athens Drive (seventh in SWAC).
Sophomore Morgan Hoyt comes back after being the top runner for Fuquay-Varina (eighth in the SWAC) a year ago.