The Hare and the Hound XC Invitational is one of the largest XC Meets in North Carolina. This year teams as far away as Texas had representation running at McAlpine Greenway in Charlotte NC. This was the first year Swain XC has competed in the meet and with over 100 teams and over 3,000 runners, it made for a great day with great competition for your Swain Count Maroon Devils XC Teams.
You 2 time, reigning and defending NCHSAA State Champion Girls team ran in the Championship race with the best teams from across the south, including one of the top teams in the country. The girls team hit the course and ran for their personal records. “These are the type of races coming in we know and understand that we will not win. The point of these meets are to race people better than you from 1-7. This gives all of our kids the ability to race with people and not race in space like we find in the smaller meets where there are gaps in ability levels,” said Coach Payne. Once again, Annie Lewis led our girls with a time of 19:33, one second off of a personal record. She placed 35 overall out of 206. She was followed by fellow sophomore Angel Lomelli 20:43 (70), Audrey Monteith continues her strong and impressive season with a time of 21:29 (a new PR) and placing 96, freshman Emily Grey Stargell, 21:29, a pr for her and placed 99th overall. She was followed by junior Lilah Foster, who has found a great groove over the past month, hitting a new pr of 21:57 (116), senior Lily Bjerkness continues to run strong with a 22:08 (122) and Marden Harvey rounded out our top 7 with a time of 22:37 (131). Julianna Meraz-Quijada ran a 24:21 followed by Kiersten Cucumber with a 25:01 to round out the rest of the team.
As a team, the ladies finished 14th out of 29 scoring teams and out of a total of 43 teams that toed the line, but not all finished with 5 runners.
Ladies Captain, Lily Bjerkness, “This meet was reallybig but we showed up in a really big way. Many of our girls pr’d and pushed each other. THis meet showed us we can push through allergies, lack of sleep, hunger, frustration, and anything else that comes our way. These girls are family and we are prepared to do even better at the next meet.”
The boys ran the Championship Race as well. With 200 athletes from all over the Southeast registered, we knew coming in how tough the race would be. There were 15 boys registered with times under 15:10 and we wanted a piece of them. Sophomore Carl Baird led the team for the second straight race with a time of 16:58, placing 40th overall. He was followed by Kane Jones at 17:09 (48), Connor Brown 17:17 (61), Connor Lambert 18:01 (118) and freshman Ross Clapsaddle with a time of 18:21 (147). Abhi Patel was sixth on the team 18:49 (169) and Cory Wolf finished out the top 7 with a time of 19:23 (189). Two freshman Derek Gunter 19:34 and Ty Eaton (24:41) completed the team and the race.
“We knew coming in our goal wasn’t to beat everybody, but to beat all the 1A teams in the field. At the end of the season, these are the teams we need to see and race against. We have seen Hayesville twice and will see them two more times before State, we may get a chance to race against these teams again.” Coach Keith Payne said of the meet.
“Our teams have one goal…To both win State. No public 1A team has ever won both in the same season. Hayesville was super close in 2008. We are trying to do something exceptionally special for Swain County”.
Your Maroon Devils are off this week. Their next race is back in Charlotte on Oct. 7th at the Wendy’s Invitational.