Cardinal Gibbons said goodbye to the 3A ranks in track and field in its typical fashion Friday at Aggie Stadium. The Crusaders, who move to 4A this fall, brought home a state championships in the relay and the girls’ 3,200 meters, plus a pair of top-five team finishes.
Waxhaw Marvin Ridge (60 team points) won the boys’ team title ahead of Monroe Sun Valley (44). Gibbons was fourth with 32 points.
Southern Guilford was the girls’ team champion with 61 points, and Marvin Ridge edged Gibbons for second (39-35). Chapel Hill’s girls were fifth.
The Crusaders’ boys 3,200 team ran in the pack for the first half of the race, with David Edwards and J.T. Klimek setting the early pace. On the third leg, Will Harris darted to the lead and handed the baton off to Connor Peeples, who knew he had to outduel Mitchell Resor of Weddington.
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Resor pulled ahead with about 650 meters to go, but Peeples charged back to take the lead just as the bell lap began.
“I just gave everything and was able to hold him off from there,” Peeples said.
The Crusaders won with a personal best time for the group of 7 minutes, 56.09 seconds. Weddington was a second and a half back at the finish line.
“Coming in we knew we had a pretty good chance,” Peeples said. “But once you get on the track, it’s a toss up. You never know what’s going to happen in a relay race.”
Peeples also added an individual silver medal in the 800, knocking two seconds off of his previous best time with a 1:53.04.
Things weren’t nearly as interesting for Gibbons’ junior Sophie Ebihara. She led throughout the girls 3,200, taking control of the race with a third lap of 1:20.72. Even with the lead she stayed true to her “never look back on the track” ideal, winning in 11:06.99.
Teammate Amanda Wiggenhorn ran second for the majority of the race and took the silver, 10 seconds behind Ebihara.
“It’s been a long season, no break between indoor and outdoor season because we went to nationals,” Ebihara said. “I just wanted to come out and run a good race. And it was very hot, compared to what it’s been. I just love coming out here and running in a field with so many talented runners, girls I don’t get to see that much.”
Marissa Bishop gave the Crusaders three runners in the top seven in the 3,200.
The only other area 3A state champion was Hillsborough Cedar Ridge’s Kacia Viness, who finished her high school career with a titlein the long jump. She landed a leap of 18 feet, 7 inches, a foot better than runner-up Imani Bennett of Southern Guilford.
Other Top Area Girls Finishes
Silver Medalists: Megan Vaughn of Gibbons in the 1,600 and Anna Passannante of Chapel Hill in the 800 were both victims to late surges down the homestretch by Anna Vess of Asheville A.C. Reynolds, who won both races.
Bronze Medalists: Two Triangle-area relay teams brought home third-place finishes: Chapel Hill’s 3,200 relay team (Milly Ames, Maeva Guialtieri-Reed, Reagan Roeber, Madi Marvin) in 9:56.71, and Cleveland’s 800 relay team (Cassidy McNierney, Alyssa Rivera, Syndi Fields, Miranda Hinton) in 1:44.44.
Samara Gibson of Corinth Holders was third in the 400, even though she ran in the slower heat, finishing in 57.8 seconds.
Fourth Place: Savannah Creed of South Johnston, the indoor state champion, took fourth in the pole vault, while Corinth Holders senior Arden Vessie finished off her stellar career with a medal in the 3,200.
Chapel Hill’s Clare McNamara ran a 5:12.66 in the 1,600.
Other Top Area Boys Finishers
Bronze Medalists: Cleveland’s Gable Dershem bowed out of the 1,600 to focus on the 3,200. It paid off with a run of 9:41.67.
Cleveland picked up more bronze with its 1,600 relay (Lawson Lamm, Noah Pipes, Tyler DeLuca and Austin Blumenberg), while Chapel Hill’s Albert Nyamayaro placed in the high jump (6-4).
Fourth Place: Chapel Hill’s 3,200 relay team (Jonathan Timothy, Max Blackburn, Drew Roeber and Daniel Kleissler) posted a time of 8:02.38.