The Great American Cross Country Festival was great again.
That’s not to say it wasn’t great in recent years, but the annual event at WakeMed Park’s course was canceled last year due to the Hurricane Joaquim.
The boys field that featured top runners from throughout the Southeast created its own storm Saturday in the 5,000-meter Race of Champions. Cardinal Gibbons senior Connor Lane was the top area runner with a fourth-place finish of 14 minutes, 59.1 seconds. It equaled his career best time on the course.
Brodey Hasty of Brentwood, Tenn., kicked past David Principe of La Salle Academy in Providence, R.I., in the final 20 yards. Hasty’s winning time was 14:32.2 and Principe’s was 14:32.4. They shattered the course record by 11 seconds.
Lane’s mark was a four-second improvement over his winning time on the WakeMed course two weeks ago in the Adidas Cross Country Invitational, but that didn’t satisfy him.
“I’m not too happy, honestly,” Lane said. “It was good to break 15, but I have bigger goals at end of the year. It was disappointing to come out here and not and have a better result.”
Lane stayed within a couple of seconds of the two leaders until the final 1,000 meters. The leaders came through the first mile in a fast time of 4:34.
Cleveland’s Gable Dershem was 12th (15:22.5) and Green Hope’s Peyton Barish 16th (15:26.7) with a school 5K record. Teammate Ian Delgado was 28th (15:50.7).
Green Hope was the top area school in fourth place with a distant 240 points.
“Overall we’re happy with fourth place,” said Mike Miragliulolo, Green Hope head coach. “We need to close the gap between our top two and the next three.”
Kate Murphy of Lake Braddock in Burke, Va., won the girls race by a 10-second margin with a time of 17:11.8. The top area finisher was Cary Academy senior Sarah Bodmer in 24th (18:40.2). Her Chargers were the top area team in 11th place.
Bodmer’s said her hard week of training designed to peak at the end of the year left her drained for Saturday. Her course best was 18:23.6 when she was third in the Adidas two weeks ago.
“There was a lot of competition here,” Bodmer said. “This race will help me by the end of the year.”