Runners place four on all-conference team
The Davie cross country team entered the championship phase of the season Jan. 6 as it battled its conference foes at the Central Piedmont Conference championships at Kernersville’s Ivey Redmond Park.
After the dust had settled, or more accurately the mud, Davie had produced four all-conference performers and junior Caleb Young had advanced to the regional meet Jan. 16. Unfortunately, the War Eagle teams failed to advance.
For the boys, the team race went exactly as scripted. West Forsyth captured the title with 30 points to easily outdistance Reagan (54). Reynolds (61) took third behind a quartet of seniors. Davie (73) placed fourth. East Forsyth and Glenn did not register team scores. By virtue of their top-three finishes, West, Reagan and Reynolds advanced to the Midwest Regional.
In the individual race, West’s senior duo of Jackson Nichols and Jeremy Eldredge claimed the top two spots, with Nichols crossing the line first in 16:39. Davie’s Young was sixth overall in 17:16 and advanced to regionals by placing among the top 12 individuals.
Teammates Owen Sulecki (17:41) and Nate Brooks (17:51) placed 13th and 14th, respectively, to barely miss out on qualifying. The top 14 finishers earned all-conference accolades, thus giving Davie three all-conference designees.
Andrew Brown was the next Davie finisher as he claimed 17th in 18:09. Sebastien McEwen rounded out the Davie scoring in 23rd place with a time of 18:40. Cole Swade finished 26th (19:40), while Reese Yount made his season debut in 27th (19:50).
“The team race ended up just as the regular season suggested it might,” said coach Rob Raisbeck. “We thought we had a chance to beat Reynolds but we were going to have to run a perfect race to do so. Unfortunately, we came up just short. Caleb and Owen ran outstanding races and Owen even turned in an eight-second PR. He missed qualifying for regionals by less than a second. I thought Sebastien also had a good race. He continues to show remarkable improvement. Coach (Jeff) Jones and I were also really proud of Reese. He has been hurt all season, but when Sam (Warner) went down with an injury last week, we decided to put Reese in the line-up – and he did as well as anybody could have expected.”
The girls race was dominated by Reagan, which claimed the title with 27 points. Runner-up West Forsyth (41) and was followed by Reynolds (67). Davie (99) grabbed the fourth spot. East and Glenn did not register team scores.
Reagan senior Gwen Parks was the overall winner with a time of 19:17 as she edged her freshman sister, Bronwyn, who crossed the line in 19:28. Davie was led by sophomores Riley Almond, who placed 14th (21:24) to earn all-CPC, and Lexi Kulis, who finished 16th (21:41). Gracie Spicer (23:26) and Presley Jones (23:29) placed 22nd and 23rd, respectively, while Logan White was 24th with a personal best time of 24:43. Jordyn Cassada nailed down the 28th spot in 27:58.
As with the boys, the top three teams advanced to regionals as well as any individuals among the top 12, meaning the Lady War Eagles will not have a representative at regionals.
“The revamped regional qualifying process really worked to our disadvantage since all of the qualifiers were based solely on conference finish instead of performance during the regular season and there were no at-large selections,” said Raisbeck. “Both of our boys and girls teams would have easily advanced out of the other two conferences in our region. Riley and Lexie would have been second and third in the Metro Conference (Guilford County schools) meet, which was run on the same course we ran. The Southwestern Conference (Mecklenburg and Cabarrus county schools) is extremely weak and they had two schools advance with average times over 27:00. That’s almost five minutes slower than we ran on a comparable, if not faster, course. Same with the boys. At least three or four schools advanced to regionals that we were definitely faster than. Hopefully we will return to the traditional qualification method next year and Covid will be a distant memory.”
The Davie boys also had five runners compete in a JV meet the morning of the conference championship. Traditionally, the conference meet is not limited in numbers and every runner from each school is allowed to compete. Due to Covid restrictions this season, each school was limited to seven entries in the varsity race.
Freshman Will Allard was the top Davie finisher in the JV race as he turned in a personal best time of 19:45 to claim 10th place overall. Cooper White (21:18) and Wesley Brooks (21:22) finished in 14th and 15th, respectively. Jay Niland crossed the line in 18th place (23:24) and was followed by Matthew Freeland in 28:45.
“Will ran a very nice race,” said Raisbeck. “Coach Jones and I considered putting him in the lineup in the varsity race, but ended up going with Reese due to his experience as a junior. Both of those guys will be important parts of our team next fall. We were also very pleased with Cooper today. He has been injured for a full year and is potentially a top-five runner for us. He has just resumed training and to his credit he wanted to race just to see where he is from a fitness standpoint. Cooper is finally healthy and we expect big things from him his senior year.”
Notes: Young made the all-conference team for the second time. Last year he was seventh in the CPC. … Both Davie teams finished fourth in the CPC for the fourth straight year.