Cary Academy’s boys ran to their fifth consecutive Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference 3A cross country championship Thursday at WakeMed Soccer Park, as the Chargers secured seven of the top 10 finishers.
Even more impressive was the 1-2 finish by brothers Josh and Coleman Mitchell. Senior Josh won his second title in a row, with freshman Coleman trailing just behind.
“It’s actually amazing,” Josh Mitchell said. “It’s something I really hoped would happen for a long time. I was glad it was able to happen today. Thank God for it.”
The brothers battled for much of the course, with Josh pulling slightly away by the end of the second loop.
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“So many things had to happen for this to occur,” Coleman Mitchell said. “It was a perfect ending to the season and pretty much the best situation we could hope for.”
One thing that had to happen was an illness by North Raleigh Christian Academy’s Ryan Speer. Cary Academy coach Conrad Hall said Speer is one of the top runners in the area.
Still, the Chargers were dominant, scoring 19 points to beat Ravenscroft for the title. North Raleigh Christian Academy was third.
“We’re really proud,” Hall said. “We have a great conference and a lot of great athletes we compete against. We have a lot of pride that our program’s been able to be that successful and that consistent.”
While the Ravens’ boys posted their best conference finish, the Ravenscroft girls won for the second year in a row. Maddy Ringenbach’s second-place finish helped the Ravens nip Cary Academy. Durham Academy, behind Eliza Dekker’s fourth conference title in a row, was third.
“Pretty amazing to repeat it,” Ravenscroft coach Leslie Payne said. “We knew it was going to be close with Cary Academy, and it was anybody’s race today. I was holding my breath when they were announcing results.
“Our team has been pushing from the back, making the front run faster. That definitely happened today.”
Dekker won by 32 seconds as she pushes for her fourth consecutive state title. The NCISAA championships will be next weekend in Hendersonville.
“I wanted to go out there and win, feel good,” Dekker said. “That happened. I know there are couple good girls behind me, and they did well. It was fun to go out there and push myself.”
The Mitchell brothers will continue to push, dreaming of another 1-2 finish in the state meet.
“That would be tough,” Josh Mitchell said, “but nothing is impossible. We’ll keep pushing and see how it goes.”