Being the bridesmaid may be getting a little old for Research Triangle.
For the third year in a row, the Raptors finished second in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A boys cross country championship. Saturday, Research Triangle finished 20 points behind champion Walkertown at Ivey Redmon Sports Complex on Saturday.
“We’re kinda used to it by now,” Raptors coach Victor Swepson said. “We’ve got a saying around our school: ‘We’re No. 1 and being No. 2.’”
Senior Jack Puryear led the charge for Research Triangle, finishing sixth overall and fourth among runners competing in the team competition. Raptor runners were seventh through ninth in the team competition – Eric Young seventh, Madison Daniel eighth and Michal Swepson ninth – but Research Triangle still fell 20 points from winning the championship. The fifth Raptor runner was 61st, while Walkertown placed all five runners in the top 23.
“These guys all worked really hard,” Swepson said. “We had to fight through so much stuff, injuries, etc. We had one runner in our top five (Young) who had a car accident yesterday. To come through all that and still make the podium is an amazing accomplishment in itself.
“One of the things I try to tell the kids: It’s all about having fun. I want to develop a love for running that carries on as they get older. I hope they make it to college and run. If they just run for a club or just run on their own in the middle of the night, as long as long as they’re healthy and having fun, that’s what I want to shoot for. So second place is great.”
Second place was great for Voyager Academy’s Luke Bennett, as that’s where he placed in the individual meet.
“It was a great race,” the junior Bennett said. “It was wet but I thought I powered through well and raced the best I could. All my training paid off, and I can’t wait until next season to get back out here and run for first.
“Top five was my goal at the beginning of the year. As the year progressed, I noticed how much I was improving. I was racing for first today, so I saw this as a great opportunity for me. I tried my best to go out and capture it.”
Bennett’s efforts led Voyager to fifth in the team standings. Raleigh Charter finished third.
Raleigh Charter finished sixth in the 1A girls’ team race, led by Gillian Scott’s overall fourth-place finish. Jade Ogilvie was seventh for Woods Charter, with Kathleen Burroughs 10th for Granville Central.