• 54°

High school cross country: Waldo leads West boys to NPC title

Waldo, Falcons get it done in NPC

Wayne Hinshaw FILE PHOTO/for the Salisbury Post … Thomas Waldo led the West Rowan boys to the North Piedmont Conference cross country championship at Dan Nicholas Park on Tuesday. Waldo was also the individual winner.

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY— West Rowan senior Thomas Waldo, beaming like an 8-year-old on Christmas morning, felt the thrill of elusive victory and flung both arms in the air as he reached the finish line at Dan Nicholas Park.

Waldo has been a contender a long time, and now he’s an individual champion. He ran 17:28 to take Tuesday’s North Piedmont Conference cross country meet. He edged Carson junior Zac Barbee by three seconds.

“It’s about time,” Waldo said with a laugh. “It was finally my time, but it still wasn’t easy. Barbee and I were duking it out just about the whole race.”

West coach Scott Foster saw it coming. Waldo was sensational early this season and ran 16:52 in the Jungle Run in Fayetteville.

“Then at Friday Night Lights (in Kernersville on Sept. 7),” he hurt his back and that slowed him down for several weeks,” Foster said. “But at the Wendy’s Invitational last week, he ran very well and earned a medal and I could see he had almost battled back to where he was. This was a breakthrough win for him today. I’m happy for him.”

Waldo’s individual triumph had a whole lot to do with a team title for the Falcons. West (40) topped Carson (48), East Rowan (77), South Iredell (86), defending champion North Iredell (113) and Statesville (141).

“The team did great today, and that’s the biggest thing,” Waldo said. “It’s been a rocky season for us, but this makes up for a lot.”

Carson had won the pre-conference meet in September, with Barbee finishing first, but the “real thing” on Tuesday went to the Falcons.

West also benefited from a massive performance from Devon Pena, a senior who ran a PR 17:56 and placed fifth.

“I went out with Waldo and Barbee and kept the fast pace they set for as long as I could,” Pena said. “We only had six runners today, so I knew I had to go. Everyone had to go.”

West sophomore Damian Ackman ran 18:28 for eighth place. Eight make all-conference in the NPC.

“Just really happy for him that he made all-conference,” Foster said. “At the Rowan County meet, he fell right at the gun. He made it all the way back up to 13th place, but he missed all-county (top 12) by one second.”

Luke Harrison (11th) and Matthew Ramsay (15th) rounded out the scorers for West.

“This means a lot because I can’t remember a year where we’ve had to overcome more injuries or more adversity,” Foster said. “Hamstrings, knees, ankles, backs, hips, we’ve had everything go wrong that you can imagine. But October is when it really counts. These guys never quit, and now they’re conference champions.

South Iredell’s Adam Weber took third in 17:46, while North Iredell’s Patrick Mahaffey was fourth in 17:56.

In addition to Barbee’s effort, Carson’s runner-up finish was fueled by John Sokolowski (6th, 18:14) and TJ Jones (7th, 18:23). Jimmy Sentilles was ninth for the Cougars. The fifth scorer was Jackson Price (24th).

Barbee gave a gigantic effort. He was swifter Tuesday than when he won the pre-conference meet in 18:11.

The lead see-sawed between Barbee and Waldo several times in the woods.

“Thomas would move ahead, and then I’d catch up to him,” Barbee said. “Finally, coming out of the woods, he pushed to a little bit of a lead,  but I almost caught him again on the bridge. But I just couldn’t quite get him. He was able to out-kick me.”

In the Rowan County Championships in early October, Barbee and Waldo finished second and third, respectively, behind South Rowan sophomore Noah Julian.

But on Tuesday Waldo finally broke through after paying years of dues in one of the most demanding sports.

“There are no substitutes in cross country and there are no timeouts,” said Rick Roseman, who has been running meets for 34 years. “Every single one of those kids competing today ran the same distance. No matter what his or her time was, I commend them all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Business

Multi-building development on East Innes begins to take shape after years of delays

Education

‘We know what time it is’: Livingstone students hear from local candidates for office

Education

Shoutouts

Local

Lee Street theatre pivots after positive COVID-19 tests cancel live shows

Elections

Local voters say first presidential debate devoid of substance, contained little to change minds

High School

Interest is spiking in South volleyball

Education

Education Briefs: Superintendent survey now available for community members

Education

Celebrating national 4-H week

Education

Robots with phonics: Rockwell Elementary is blending subjects to engage with kids

Crime

Agreement to divert minor disciplinary incidents from court ready for public feedback

Nation/World

Biden, Trump snipe from road and rails after debate chaos

Nation/World

Debate commission says it will make changes to format

Coronavirus

County moves up to fourth in state for COVID-19 deaths

Crime

Photo: Truck wanted in connection with Reaper’s Realm shooting

Coronavirus

North Carolina moves to Phase 3, but COVID progress is ‘fragile’

Coronavirus

Changes to expect when phase three starts Friday

Crime

Blotter: Concord man faces weapons, marijuana charges after traffic stop

Elections

Political sign stealing on the rise in Rowan as campaign season heats up

News

Chaotic first debate: Taunts overpower Trump, Biden visions

Elections

Debate takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

News

Appalachian State student dies following COVID complications

Local

Planning board OKs rezoning for 5-acre property on Mooresville Road

Business

Kannapolis seeking redevelopment proposals for site of old baseball stadium

Elections

Tell us your opinion about the first presidential debate