Prep Cross Country: Salisbury girls qualify for state

Published 11:15 pm Saturday, October 29, 2016

By Mike London

Runners competed on Saturday for berths in the cross country state championships.
Teams placing in the top four in a regional qualified for next week’s state competition, and the top seven individuals not on those four teams also advanced.
Salisbury’s girls were the biggest story.
The Hornets, who have already won Rowan County and Central Carolina Conference titles, finished fourth in the 2A Midwest Regional at the Ivey Redmon Complex in Kernersville.
Salisbury’s score was 124. The other qualifying teams were Forbush (36), West Stanly (87) and Central Academy of Technology and Arts (111).
Freshman Leah Cressler again led the Hornets. The CCC champion ran 21:36 for 12th place.
“She’s run in big meets in AAU Junior Nationals, so I don’t think she was that nervous,” Salisbury coach Sallie Pittman said. “Still, this were her first time in high-end high school competition, and she handled herself well.”
Salisbury counts on sophomore Ellen Simons (17th, 22:12) and junior Mary Kaufmann (20th, 22:22) for steady performances. Both have improved significantly from last season, and they came through again on Saturday.
Junior Grace Williams, a cross-country running cheerleader, finished 40th in 23:52. Junior Julia Honeycutt, a soccer star in her first season of cross country, finished 41st in 23:54 to round out Salisbury’s scorers.
Pittman said Williams and Kaufmann had exceptional runs.
Junior Bess Bryan (46th) and freshman Anna Grace Woolly (61st) also helped out. They finished ahead of a lot of runners and affected the scores of other teams.
Bryan is competing despite a hip injury that she’s been fighting all season.
“She’s spent a lot of time this season with physical therapists and chiropractors,” Pittman said. “But she’s kept putting in the work, and it’s paying off. She ran a great race today.”
In the 2A Midwest Regional boys race, Salisbury junior Keegan Dillon ran 18:04 for 11th place and qualified for the state event as an individual.
In the 4A West Regional boys race at Charlotte’s McAlpine Greenway Park, A.L. Brown junior Brandon Hernandez ran 16:11 for second place and moved on to the state meet. Hernandez finished nine seconds behind Mooresville senior Zachary Mercer.
In the 3A Midwest Regional boys race at McAlpine, East Rowan junior Sean Incardona ran 17:02 for 19th place and advanced to the state as one of the top seven individuals not part of the four qualifying teams.
West Rowan finished seventh in the team scoring, while East Rowan placed ninth.
Senior Nathan Zauner (27th, 17:18) led the Falcons.
East’s Ross Alexander and West’s Cade Harrill, Oscar Bautista and Thomas Waldo were among the top 50 runners.
Cox Mill sophomore Jack Trabucco, the SPC champion, ran 16:19 and placed third to advance to the state meet.
Northwest Cabarrus senior Ethan Bemis was 14th in 16:51 to advance.
Weddington, North Lincoln, Cuthbertson and Marvin Ridge were the qualifying teams.
In the 3A Midwest Regional girls race at McAlpine, Carson junior Taylor Wiggins took seventh place and will return to the state meet.
Carson freshman Taylor Conrad was 23rd.
Weddington, Cuthbertson, Marvin Ridge and North Lincoln were the team qualifiers. Hickory Ridge finished sixth, Northwest Cabarrus was eighth, and Carson was ninth.
Gray Stone’s girls qualified their team for the state meet with a second-place finish in the 1A Midwest Regional held in Kernersville.
Leading the Knights were sophomore Emily Griffin (6th, 21:50), junior Laurie Fogleman (10th, 22:03) and senior Annie Habeeb (15th, 22:37).
All the state championships will be held on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Kernersville.