Temperatures were up Wednesday, so times were down at the Big 8 cross country championship meet, but Chapel Hill’s harriers weathered the unseasonably high heat well enought to repeat its sweep of the conference’s boys and girls team titles.
Cedar Ridge senior Ian Elliott and Chapel Hill junior Katherine Dokholyan both repeated as individual champions in the 5K events.
Elliott’s winning time (16:42.28) was well off his personal record of 16:22.6, run a month before at the Addidas Challenge at WakeMed Park in Cary.
“I knew it was going to be awful, but everyone had to deal with it, so there was nothing to complain about,” Elliott said. “The heat affected everyone’s running, but I think I’m better in the heat than some other runners; at least I was able to take advantage of it.”
Elliott ran with a group of leaders for the first circuit of the Chapel High High School course, then he and two or three others began to separate themselves. With about 1,600 meters to go, Elliott was pulling away, though Chapel Hill’s Ryan Combs stayed relatively close.
“It drives my coach crazy, but I kept turning around to see if he was still there,” the bespectacled Elliott said. “Within my glasses, I can’t see a thing while I’m running, so I kept looking to be sure.”
Combs (16:50.22) finished second, leading a group of 10 Chapel Hill runners who finished in places 2 through 11: Joseph Graden; Eric Vanderford; Silas Buckner; James Clabo; Nat Romaine; Eli Turner; Jason Dadolf; Jacob Meredith-Andrew; and Ben Campbell.
Cedar Ridge’s Rory Legg-Bell finished 12th in 18:13.62, followed by Northwood’s John Terzotis (18:54.88) in 13th and two runners from Orange – Andrew Sollars (19:01.66) and Sam Rasinske (19:09.97).
With a split of just 30 seconds between its top five runners, Chapel Hill finished with 20 points. Elliott led Cedar Ridge to second place with its 52 points, followed by Orange (79), Northwood (1-2) and Webb (150).
As in the boys race, most of the girls’ times were way more than their personal records and, again, Chapel Hill dominated the top 15 spots.
Dokhoylan had just set her personal record of 18:12.0 four days before at the Milestate.com Invitational, but slogged through Wednesday’s heat to win with a time of 19:18.0, which was slower than even her time of 19:11.25 in winning the 2015 conference championship.
Chapel Hill’s Clare McNamara was second with a time of 19:36.18, with Elizabeth Zarzar of Cedar Ridge in third (19:48.62). Chapel Hill runners took the next five spots, led by Lily Crook (19:58.84) in fourth place, then teammates Lena Cohen, Grace Tate, Madi Marvin and Maggie Springer – all within 20 seconds of each other.
Julia Averette of Cedar Ridge (20:46.47) was ninth and Chapel Hill’s Anna Stouffer (20:58.78) in 10th. Rounding out the top 15 were Orange’s Adalyn Fleming, Sarah Ferriter of Chapel Hill, Ava Heffernan of Orange, Cedar Ridge’s Abby Averette and Julianna Lester of Orange.
Chapel Hill won the girls championship with 18 points. Cedar Ridge (61) beat out Orange (64) in a close race for second, and Northwood (111) was fourth.