Prep Cross Country: South Rowan boys win

Published 11:02 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2018

By Mike London

SALISBURY  — South Rowan junior Trent Rivers sprinted, strained for the finish line, expended every ounce of energy to nip Salisbury’s Roshen Amin for 18th place.

Rivers was South Rowan’s fifth runner in Wednesday’s Pre-County cross country meet at Dan Nicholas Park, and he made the difference in the Raiders’ victory. It couldn’t have been any tighter. South’s score of 42 edged West Rowan, which had six runners in the top 15 and posted a 43.

“That fifth runner is going to be the big thing for us all season,” South coach Scott Julian said. “Fortunately, we’re pretty deep this year. We’ve got three or four different guys who could be that fifth runner on any given day.”

This was just the pre-county meet. The results aren’t always conclusive. East Rowan took the pre-county event last year, but West Rowan claimed its second straight county title when it mattered.

All that could really be deduced from Wednesday’s race was that South and West are well ahead of everyone else in the county, and they’re going to stage some battles this year.

South had the top individual, Coach Julian’s son, Noah,  a sophomore.

Noah’s win in 17:36 wasn’t a surprise. It was supposed to happen. He was the county’s second-fastest runner behind East Rowan graduate Sean Incardona last fall.

“We’ve put in a lot of work, hit it hard at the summer camps,” Noah said. “We’ve got a few new guys and some improved guys, and we’re hoping this will be our year.”

South will be in the running for its first team championship since 2007 when Phillip Tilley led the Raiders to victory, and Noah has a good chance to be South’s first individual county champ since Michael York in 2010.

“There’s a fine line to be walked between putting in quantity miles and putting in quality miles, and we’ve gotten the quality miles in our preseason work,” Coach Julian said.

South’s other scorers were Ari Moya (fourth), A.L. Brown transfer Ian Waugh (sixth), Nolan Miller (13th) and Rivers (18th).

“It was hot and humid – it’s August, but it wasn’t a shabby day to run,” Noah said. “I was pretty happy with my time for this early. That’s what I was running about three-quarters of the way through last season.”

Early pacesetter Thomas Waldo (third, 18:25), Damian Ackman (fifth), freshman Isaac Castro (ninth), Devon Pena (12th), Luke Harrison (14th) and Matthew Dailey (15th) led the Falcons. West graduated some good seniors, but coach Scott Foster has the program at a place where it just reloads.

Carson (65), East Rowan (97) and Salisbury (101) were the other programs posting team scores.

Junior Zac Barbee led the Cougars with a second-place finish in 17:46. John Sokolowski was seventh. TJ Jones placed 11th and was the last runner to cross in under 20 minutes.

Jake Earnhardt finished 10th to lead East. Adam Whitley was 17th.

Salisbury was at a disadvantage because it ran in a meet on Tuesday. Michael Lowery finished eighth to spark the Hornets, while Roarke Burton was 16th.