The 3A trophies will reside in one place for the next year, as Chapel Hill swept the boys’ and girls’ team races at the N.C. High School Athletic Association state cross country meet on Saturday at Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex.
The Tigers’ boys team beat Charlotte-area schools Weddington and Marvin Ridge to earn their first title since 2010, while the girls won their second consecutive championship since Cardinal Gibbons moved up to 4A.
“You can’t really (say) anybody on either team had a perfect day,” Tigers coach Joan Nesbit Mabe said. “But the synergy of the whole was perfect. We got it done.”
The Chapel Hill boys didn’t have a single runner in the top 15 overall, but still won by 45 points over Weddington. Junior Nat Romaine was 16th, with senior Eric Vanderford 22nd, juniors Ryan Combs 23rd, Silas Buckner 25th and Eli Turner 28th.
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“Those boys!” Nesbit Mabe said. “This current senior class – they fourth as freshman at states, as sophomores they were third, as juniors they were second. So we said, ‘Four, three, two, one’ all year long. This would be such a perfect ending for this group, and we did it.”
Jacob Gonzalez of South Johnson finished second to David Melville of Northern Guilford, with Austin Carroll of Corinth Holders third. Cleveland’s Gable Dershem was 10th overall.
The girls team was a study in perseverance Saturday, as top finisher Katherine Dokholyan ran through some pain because of a knee issue, while Claire McNamara ran nearly the entire distance with only one shoe – and finished 12th.
“Our team did so well,” Dokholyan said. “They ran so well and so bravely. Our second girl lost her shoe, so she ran with one shoe. The rest of our team ran very bravely.”
Dokholyan finished second a year ago, but she experienced knee pain during regionals from Osgood-Schlatter Disease, according to Nesbit Mabe. Her practice routine changed this week, and she only decided to run the state meet Friday afternoon.
“It was a little bit stressful going into it,” Dokholyan said. “I told myself yesterday, ‘If I ran, I can’t drop out. I have to stay in it.’ It was hard to finish, but I did, and I was happy I did. I didn’t think I was going to get all-state, honestly, and it was very hard. But it was good.”
Dokholyan was fourth, Madi Marvin ninth, McNamara 12th, Lily Crook 17th and Grace Cook 20th as the Tigers beat Cuthbertson by 16 points.
“We were so proud of (Dokholyan) for giving us a low stick under those circumstances,” Nesbit Mabe said.
McNamara, the “other low stick,” had a shoelace come untied and her shoe come off in the first 100 meters of the race.
“She hung on and finished that race like a gamer,” Mabe said.
Corinth Holders finished sixth in the team race, with Cedar Ridge 10th.