What a day your Swain County High Maroon Devils XC Teams had on Saturday, Oct. 7th at the Wendy’s Invitational. Over 190 teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and West Virginia competed in 4 different divisions. As usual, Swain was far and away the smallest school registered but they packed a big punch.
Your Women’s team competed first and they did not disappoint. They raced in the Blue Division, known as the 3A race, the 2nd toughest division at the Wendy’s Invitational. Coach Keith Payne said, “I was standing in the woods at the 1-mile mark with several other coaches and I said to them, “That girl got out quick,” as I took a closer look at the runner, it was Annie Lewis and the Enka coach said, “I think she is yours.” Sure enough, Annie had a big lead at the one-mile and two-mile marks, but many other Maroon Devils so closely followed her. In fact, our entire top 5 finished in the top 14. Below are our finishers from the race. SB indicates a season’s best time. Sophomore Angel Lomelli tore up the course with a new PR of 26 seconds and Freshman Emily Grey Stargell stood out with a 56-second personal record. At the end of the race, our girls totaled 41 points, winning the blue division by 62 points. The 2nd place team was West Stanly with 103 points. Overall, with all divisions being placed into one race, the girls finished 19th out of 104 teams.
“I don’t believe a 1A team has ever won any division of the Wendy’s Invitational so to do that is impressive.” Keith Payne said. “We have a goal to not only be one of the best 1A teams in the state but to be one of the best XC teams in the entire state…I think we are close to realizing that goal.”
|19:42.21||Annie Lewis||3rd||1-Girls Blue|
|20:10.02||SB||Angelina Lomelli||6th||1-Girls Blue|
|20:39.25||SB||Emily Grey Stargell||9th||1-Girls Blue|
|21:31.85||Lily Bjerkness||13th||1-Girls Blue|
|21:34.66||Audrey Monteith||14th||1-Girls Blue|
|22:17.29||Lilah Foster||30th||1-Girls Blue|
|23:29.38||SB||Julianna Meraz-Quijada||68th||Girls JV|
|23:47.04||Marden Harvey||63rd||1-Girls Blue|
|24:45.19||Carden Oetting||123rd||Girls JV|
|27:33.58||Kiersten Cucumber||250th||Girls JV|
The boys came up next. With 185 athletes registered in the race, it was a very close race that really came down to who out-sprinted who in the final 582 feet. With so many packed into the top 50, points added up quickly. Swain was led by Sophomore Carl Baird, Connor Brown, and Kane Jones. Connor Lambert ran a season-best time as did freshman Derek Gunter. The results for our boys are below. Again, SB indicates a season’s best time.
|16:57.36||Carl Baird||15th||1-Boys Blue|
|17:09.94||Connor Brown||18th||1-Boys Blue|
|17:38.06||Kane Jones||31st||1-Boys Blue|
|17:47.58||SB||Connor Lambert||37th||1-Boys Blue|
|18:31.65||Abhi Patel||64th||1-Boys Blue|
|19:02.40||SB||Derek Gunter||81st||1-Boys Blue|
|19:09.44||Corey Wolf||84th||1-Boys Blue|
“I was very pleased with how both teams came together and races against the competition that was presented before them week after week. It is tough to spend so many Saturday’s away from home and working like this when so many of their friends are out enjoying their weekend. However, our athletes understand that in order to be successful, we have to push week in and week out.” Keith Payne said at the end of the race. “From here on out, it isn’t about time, but placing. Everything now is team goal oriented and we have high expectations.”
This was the last regular season race for the Maroon Devils. They race this Saturday for the SMC Championships. Lily Bjerkness has this to say about the SMC Conference Championships, “The SMC Championships is right around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. Both our girls and guys are ready to go out there to our home course and not just do our best, but win! We have goals set and pr’s to break and what better time to do both than at the SMC Championships”. Senior Connor Brown added, “Championships from Swain make all the days that you feel like not going to practice worth it.”