Area cross country teams experienced more highs than lows on the rolling course of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association cross country championships at Hagan-Stone Park, just south of Greensboro.
The Wayne Country Day girls (1A), Grace Christian Raleigh boys (2A) and Cary Academy’s boys and girls (3A) proved victorious. Three runners won state titles and 16 were named all-state (top 11).
It was the second straight year Cary Academy swept the boys’ and girls’ team and individual titles.
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Boys’ champ Coleman Mitchell led the Chargers, which topped Durham Academy 34-80 for the title, a testament to coach Conrad Hall. CA had five runners in the top 13.
“It’s been pretty special,” Mitchell said. “I feel like (Hall) has always had a good plan for the team. ... He knows what he’s doing but he also takes other people’s consideration to heart.
Cary Academy dominated the girls’ race, winning 35-104 over Charlotte Latin and placing five in the top 11, led by champion Sarah Bodmer. Bodmer ends her high school cross country career as a three-time 3A champ.
“My freshman year I didn’t even make it to states at the school I was at (Green Hope),” Bodmer said. “Sophomore year, I was just trying to get top 20 or something. It just surprised me. Every year it surprises me when I win, because it’s against a lot of competition.”
Locals who made all-state (boys): Mitchell; Chase Coley, Cary Academy (fourth); Tommy Bright, Cary Academy (sixth); Mark Alkins, Durham Academy (ninth); Dylan Lamphier, Cary Academy (10th); Neil Mosca, Durham Academy (11th).
Locals who made alll-state (girls): Bodmer; Athina Zodl, Cary Academy (fourth); Ava Lathan, Cary Academy (9th), Lia Lathan, Cary Academy (10th), Emily Lane, Cary Academy (11th).
After coming up one point short last year, Grace Christian Raleigh claimed the boys’ title with 99 points, as St. Thomas More (130) and Cary Christian (191) followed. The Eagles snapped a two-year drought and have now won four of the last six championships despite a challenging course.
“I was hoping to race 16:30 today but it was a tough day, tough course,” said junior Will Sossaman, who was third. (17:04.20).
Asheville’s Carolina Day won the girls’ title. Olivia Lackner of the relatively new St. Thomas More in Raleigh was the top area finisher in fourth place as her Chancellors took third.
“It’s wonderful because our school is so small and most of our sports are starting to take off,” said Lackner, a junior. “It’s really nice that cross country is a sport where we can excel, prove ourselves and get our name out there.”
Locals who made all-state (boys): Sossaman; Sam Markoff, St. David’s (seventh); Daniel Morken, Trinity School Durham-Chapel Hill (eighth).
Locals who made all-state (girls): Lackner, Lucy Ketterer, St. Thomas More (10th); Molly Kuzma, O’Neal School (11th).
Morgan Lane, a junior at Wilson’s Community Christian, improved her third-place finish from a year ago by winning the 1A girls’ title. She could’ve let last year haunt her: She only finished third after getting lost at McAlpine Park course in Charlotte.
But she was at peace with it and moved on.
“It wasn’t God’s timing for me,” Lane said. “My approach was to run it my best and to run as if I was running for God and no one else.”
Just a seventh-grader, Wayne Christian’s Paige Court was runner-up in her first year of eligibility.
“It’s exciting,” Court said. “(Lane) has always been hard to beat, so I just wanted to stay with her.”
But it was Wayne Country Day – with five runners in top 11 – that won the 1A girls’ title.
“The girls were state runner-up last year, so they knew what it took and they worked harder and harder and harder and they peaked at the end like they’re supposed to,” WCD coach Rob Glass said. “It’s a very young team. The oldest runner we had out there was a sophomore.”
Woodlawn School in Davidson won the 1A boys title on a tiebreaker over Halifax Academy. Wayne Country Day junior Cole Atwood was the top finisher in fourth.
“It’s a big stepping stone,” he said. “I know I can push myself harder than I thought. I’ve got to get mentally stronger, but I know I can push myself.”
More area finishers (boys): Atwood; Paul Blain, Pope John Paul II (fifth); Brennan Shapiro, Grace Christian Sanford (seventh).
More area finishers (girls): Lane; Court; Janae Jones, Wayne Country Day (sixth), Julianna Negron, Kerr-Vance (seventh), Gray Young, Wayne Country Day (eighth), Ashton Gupton (ninth), Sophie de Aranjo, Wayne Country Day (10th).