Runners from Carrboro, Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill will be on their way this Saturday to Kernersville's Beeson Park for the N.C. High School Athletic Association state championship cross-country meets.
All three produced qualifiers at last weekend's NCHSAA Mideast Regionals at WakeMed Park in Cary, where Carrboro won the a girls championships and Chapel Hill won a boys team title.
The top four teams in each regional Saturday qualified for the state meet, as did the top five individuals in each race who didn't run on a qualifying team.
Carrboro junior Grace Morken repeated as Mideast 2-A champion in the girls' 5K event, finishing in 19:19.09. In 2010, she clocked in at 19:56.53.
Teammates Maysa Araba (19:24), Helen Morken (19:25), Frankie Perone (20:24), Alexa Phillips (20:24) and Camilla Dohlman (20:24) took five of the next six spots in a dominating display by the Jaguars. They finished with 17 points to runnerup Corinth Holders' 63.
Northwood and Cedar Ridge also qualified their girls' teams to for the state championships.
Led by medalist A.J. Tucker (16:59.47), Cedar Ridge won the boys' 2-A Mideast title by two points over Carrboro. The Jaguars' Dominic Collichio, Andrew Witcher and Tomiwa Olufolabi all finished in the top 10 to help the Jaguars earn 36 points. Northwood finished sixth.
Chapel Hill was almost as dominating in the 3-A races, where Mitch McLeod (15:49) and Chris Reeder (15:53) finished 1-2, four second apart, to lead the Tigers to the boys' team title.
"The first and second from Mitch McLeod and Chris Reeder were just what we needed," CHHS coach Ron Olen said. "Mitch's race was expected, Chris's race was what I hoped for."
McLeod and Reeder finished fifth and sixth, respectively, last year to help CHHS win the 2010 regional.
Sam Dunson (16:36), Tima Karginov (16:44), Oskar Marszelek (16:50), Alex Werden (16:56) and Brad Viles (16:42) all finished in the top 20 to help CHHS earn 38 points Saturday.
Cardinals Gibbons was second with 47 points. Orange, led by Dylan Perry's 16:39 for 11th place individually, took third in the team standings with 106 points and also will be sending its team to Beeson Park.
Gibbons and CHHS switched places in the girls 3-A regional, with the Crusaders getting 24 points to Chapel Hill's 39. Orange again was third, with 83 points.
Rachel Bartolomeo (18:40) and Mary Grace Doggett (18:53) of Cardinal Gibbons took the 3-A girls' top two spots. Indy Reid-Shaw of Orange (19:07) was third, and Chapel Hill's Tristan Van Ord (19:12) earned fourth.
Emily Williams, Alexa Young, Camille Gossett, Shannon Mumper, Rosie Kerwin and Shuyu Cao of Chapel Hill all finished in the top 25, as did Orange High's Devon Allen, Katherine Mulligan and Samantha Russell.
Van Ord, Young, and Gossett each had been bitten by illnesses within days before the meet, so Olsen was just hoping for a top-four finish for the Tigers.
"Normally, if you put your top five in the top 11 places, you would win a regional meet," he said. "But Gibbons raced better than we did today."
In the 4-A Mideast Regional, Wildcat runners Sam Miner (16:16), Ryan Brady (16:19) and Matt Fordham (16:26) took fourth, fifth and 10th place, respectively, to help East Chapel Hill earn second place behind Broughton.
Sam Roberson of Broughton won the 4-A boys' title with a time of 15:43.77, as the Caps totaled 55 points to East's 120.
Wake County teams swept the 4-A girls' top four places, with Green Hope winning with 29 points, followed by Broughton (69), Millbrook (108) and Apex (160). East Chapel Hill ended up with 219 for ninth, but East's Pegah Kamrani came in at 19:11.6 for 10th individually and qualified for the state meet.
Saturday's NCHSAA championships at Beeson Park in Kernersville start at 10 a.m. with the 2-A boys' race. The 3-A boys go at 10:30 a.m., the 2-A girls at 11 a.m., and the 3-A girls at 11:30 a.m. After a break, the 1-A boys are at 3 p.m., the 4-A boys at 3:30 p.m., the 1-A girls 4 p.m. and the 4-A girls at 4:30 p.m.
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