The Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference track meet was an historic event for the Cary Academy girls’ and boys’ teams.
The Chargers swept both conference titles Saturday, with the boys’ team winning for the first time in school history. Plus, the girls’ 3,200-meter relay team set an independent schools’ state record on Friday night.
“I was telling them they earned it event by event,” Cary Academy coach Conrad Hall said. “It feels really nice to take home a sweep with the guys and the girls.”
Cary Academy piled up 168 points, easily beating two-time defending meet winner Ravenscroft, which scored 76. North Raleigh Christian Academy was third, with Durham Academy fourth and St. Mary’s fifth.
The Chargers’ girls started the meet Friday by winning six of the seven events contested, including the record-settling 3,200 relay. No independent schools’ girls’ team had even run faster than nine minutes, 30 seconds, but Cary Academy’s four lowered the mark to 9:29.61.
“It was really unexpected,” said senior Morgan Goetz, who anchored the 3,200 relay. “Honestly, we were really worried about (Durham Academy’s) Eliza Dekker, because she caught us last year (on the final leg). We went into it (thinking), ‘Let’s get as much of a lead as we can.’ Every leg dropped so much time, and I had to run a fast leg, but by that time, we already had it. It was amazing to cross the line and know what we had just done.”
Goetz also won the 400 meters and anchored the winning 1,600 relay team, too. Cary Academy won all but one field event, the high jump, with Katie Dungan winning both the discus and shot put events.
The Chargers last won the TISAC title in 2012, when the current group of seniors were freshmen. The girls team surrounded Hall after getting the first-place trophy, chanting, “Coach Hall! Coach Hall!”
“Our team has been growing for three years, and we’ve been working toward this,” Goetz said. “Finally, all the pieces have come together, and we really performed today and killed the competition, so it feels really great.”
Ravenscroft’s Charlotte Wade was the girls’ MVP for the meet, as she won the 100 and 200 and was part of the 800-meter relay. Her 100-meter time of 12.08 seconds broke the conference meet record.
“It’s awesome,” Wade said. “I really wasn’t expecting to win it, especially after long jump yesterday. But now, I’m just really excited for my championships. I’m so happy I broke the TISAC record in the 100. I really wasn’t expecting that big of a PR.”
Cary Academy’s Jonathan Avery was the boys’ MVP after setting meet records in the 100, 200 and in the 800-meter relay.
“It’s kinda overwhelming,” Avery said. “I remember my first conference meet, and I placed third in the 200. I never would’ve thought I would ever get this far. At the time, I was just running for fun, and now, I’m competitive.
“There are a lot of seniors on this team, and we’ve been through this journey together. We’ve been trying to win conference, win states. Now, we know we can do great things, and we hope to continue to do that.”
Avery, though, was hardly alone. Teammate Sam Hines won the triple jump and the 300 hurdles, and the Chargers scored points in all but two events.
“Jonathan Avery setting three conference records was huge,” Hall said. “He brought our points in, but we had to spread it around the event. We had a lot of people contributing, and we had to build those points. We have our stars, and Jonathan’s definitely our star, but you can’t win it with one person. We have a nice, deep team, and we were scoring in lots of different areas.”
The Chargers scored 94 points to beat NRCA’s 72, with Ravenscroft third and Durham Academy fourth.