Cross-Country: Chapel Hill wins boys championship

ewarnock@newsobserver.comOctober 18, 2013 

— With four of five scoring runners finishing in the top 10 Tuesday, Chapel Hill High School’s cross-country team out-distanced its rivals from Cardinals Gibbons High and the Orange County schools to win the first 3A Big-Eight Conference boys’ championship meet.

The CHHS boys won with 32 points to 43 for Cardinal Gibbons.

The Chapel Hill girls finished second (with 47 points) in their meet behind perennial powerhouse Cardinal Gibbons (17).

Chapel Hill swept the JV meet, paced by Daniel Kleissler winning the boys’ title and Morgan Mann winning the girls’ title.

Also Tuesday, at Durham Riverside High School, East Chapel Hill swept the top three places in the girls’ 5K race and won another 4A PAC-6 championship. East’s boys finished second behind Jordan in a meet that required a tie-breaker.

At Northwood High School, Chapel Hill’s runners capped another big season. After dominating the old Carolina-6 Conference for years, Chapel Hill never failed this season to finish ahead of talented local rivals East Chapel Hill and Carrboro in any meet, including some major invitationals, noted first-year head coach Joan Nesbit Mabe.

“I am particularly proud of that because last year’s Chapel Hill cross-country program had four seniors each on the boys’ and girls’ teams,” Nesbit Mabe said. “And everyone said we were in a rebuilding year.”

Northwood was a distant third in Tuesday’s girls championship with 98, followed by Orange High (109), Cedar Ridge (125) and Oxford Webb (184).

Led by individual champion Jared Buddington with a time of 16:16.94, Cedar Ridge finished a close third in the boys’ meet with 50 points. Orange was fourth (125), followed by Northwood (132) and Oxford Webb (190).

Four of the next eight places after Buddington were taken by Tigers, led by Drew Roeber’s runner-up finish in 16:40.56.

Chapel Hill’s Peter Williams (16:43.25) took third place, while Colin Vilen (16:55.44) was fifth and Max Blackburn (17:08.59) was ninth.

Jonathan Timothy (17:19.44) completed Chapel Hill’s scoring with his 13th place finish.

Notably, both of Chapel Hill’s other runners – Jeffrey Williams (17:22.23) and Hank Bolon (17:58.12) – both finished in the top 25.

In the girls’ meet, Cardinal Gibbons swept the top four individual places, led by the state’s top-ranked female: Mary Grace Doggett (18:446.88).

Marija Crook (20:18.25) was the top finisher for the CHHS girls, earning fifth place, just ahead of teammate Anna Passannante (20:21.41) in sixth. Chapel Hill’s Elise Matrea (20:32.31) was ninth. Julia Perkins (20:46.09), Shannon Mumper ((20:51.22) and Rosie Kerwin (20:55.88), Milly Ames (21:40.47) and Bryna Loranger (21:49.28) all finished within the top 25.

Few of the runners turned in personal bests Tuesday on Northwood’s challenging course, which curves through patches of hilly woods. Buddington’s winning 16:16.94, for example, was more than 8 seconds off his PR of 16:08.64. Roeber’s time (16:40.56) was even farther off his personal best (15:58.10) set earlier this year. Vilen was almost a minute behind his best time (15:50.00).

Vilen and Roeber are ranked fifth and eighth in the state, helping Chapel Hill attain a No. 2 ranking as a team behind Weddington High School. The CHHS girls are ranked No. 4 in the state.

Chapel Hill’s Roeber, Williams, Vilen, Blackburn and Timothy all earned all-conference honors, as did Crook, Passannante and Matera on the girls’ side.

All of them qualified for the NCHSAA Mideast regional meet Oct. 26 at Hagan Stone Park in Pleasant Garden, a suburb of Greensboro.

Wildcat runners dominate PAC-6 meets

Clare McNamara won the girls’ individual championship with a 5K time of 20:36 in Tuesday’s conference finale at Riverside. Teammates Lilly Price (21:21) and Maddie Fowler (21:26) earned second and third place, while Sarah Fordham (21:58), Katie Cubrilovic (22:03), Sara Owre (22:19) and Anne McDonald (22:26) all finished within 30 seconds of each other in finishing 6-7-8-9. They earned 19 points for East, well ahead of runner-up Jordan’s 53.

Clare McNamara won the girls’ individual championship with a 5K time of 20:36 in Tuesday’s conference finale Tuesday at Riverside. Teammates Lilly Price (21:21) and Maddie Fowler (21:26) earned second and third place, while Sarah Fordham (21:58), Katie Cubrilovic (22:03), Sara Owre (22:19) and Anne McDonald (22:26) all finished within 30 seconds of each other in finishing in places 6-7-8-9. They earned 19 points for East, well ahead of runner-up Jordan’s 53.

In the boys’ meet, East Chapel Hill and Jordan tied with 32 points apiece, and the championship was decided up the sixth place finisher for each team. Jordan’s No. 6 man finished 13th overall, while East’s was 14th, giving Jordan a final 45-46 edge over East.

Jordan’s Nikolaus Kreiling was the medalist, finishing in 16:10, just ahead of Ryan Brady of East Chapel Hill (116:2) in second.

East’s second through fifth runners – Ethan Ready (17:09), Connor McDonald (17:11), James Gildard (17:38) and Matt Ruston (17:53) – finished 6-7-8-9.

Warnock: 919-932-8743

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