INDIVIDUALS RANKED BY NCRUNNERS
No. 4 - Coleman Mitchell, Cary Academy: Two-time NCISAA 3A champ.
No. 5 - Finn McBride, Green Hope: 7th in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 9 - Peyton Barish, Green Hope: 8th in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 10 - Sam Thornton, Cardinal Gibbons: 14th in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 11 - Ares Epps, Green Hope: 22nd in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 12 - Ian Delgado, Green Hope: 19th in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 16 - Ryan Brown, Broughton: 20th in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 17 - Ryan Cart, Apex: 51st in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 18 - Chase Coley, Cary Academy: 4th in NCISAA 3A.
No. 19 - Wesley Provost, Apex Friendship: 44th in NCHSAA 4A.
No. 22 - Jacob Wells, Broughton: 12th in NCHSAA 4A.
4A: Broughton has won five of the last six state championships, none closer than last year’s 67-68 victory over Green Hope. Those two, plus Cardinal Gibbons (third last year), will be in the mix once again.
3A: Chapel Hill has added competition in its quest to repeat as a 3A champion, most notably rival East Chapel Hill and former 4A power Mount Tabor out of Winston-Salem. Union Pines’ Ben Verchick was sixth last year in the state championship.
2A: N.C. School of Science and Math, third in 2A last year, must replace half of its lineup from a year ago. Durham School of the Arts (eighth) and Carrboro (ninth) could make big steps up with strong returning classes.
1A: Raleigh Charter (runner-up) and Voyager Academy (third) will try to win it all this year now that last year’s state champ, Walkertown, is in 2A.
NCISAA: Cary Academy is the favorite to repeat in 3A, but Durham Academy, last year’s runner-up, will challenge the Chargers. Grace Christian Raleigh (defending state champion) will battle with Cary Christian, Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill and Raleigh’s St. Thomas More for the 2A crown. Grace Christian, which has won four 2A titles in the last six years, is led by Will Sossaman (third last year).
New regional format: Regionals are now sorted by individual schools’ longitude instead of by conference. It most notably splits the Cap-7 Conference, with placing Leesville Road and Cardinal Gibbons in the 4A Mideast instead of the 4A East. After regionals, the top 25 percent of teams, plus the next-best top seven individuals, qualify for the state championship meet. That means the top five teams in the Mideast and five in the East.
4A Mideast: Even with the departure of Broughton, the 4A Mideast still looks the toughest with Cardinal Gibbons, Green Hope, Panther Creek, Leesville Road, Apex, Apex Friendship, Holly Springs and Jordan. It’s essentially a Gibbons-for-Broughton tradeoff from a year ago.
New conferences: Thanks to realignment, there will be some really good conference championship competitions: Broughton, Cardinal Gibbons, Leesville Road and Millbrook in the Cap-7 4A; Apex, Apex Friendship and Holly Springs in the South Wake 4A; Carrboro, Durham School of the Arts and N.C. School of Science and Math in the Mid-State 2A.