The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

October 14, 2010

Gray Stone Cross Country wins controversial Stanly County Meet

Thursday, October 14, 2010 — An unintentional shortcut, heated debate and a rule book technicality decided the outcome of a controversial Stanly County Boys Cross Country Meet Oct. 7.

South’s Alex Thompson and Gray Stone’s Harrison Latimer battled it out on the rugged trails for the first two miles. Thompson pulled away on the last lap to win the title with a 18:36 run. Latimer was second in 19:07.

Jonathan Thompson of West and Eldon Zacek of Gray Stone were racing for third place when they unintentionally missed a key turn on the course with two-tenths of a mile to go. Cutting 504 feet off the course, 21 feet shy of a tenth of a mile, Thompson finished in third in 19:07. Zacek crossed the finish line fourth in 19:17. Of the 54 boys and 50 girls that raced in the county meet, Thompson and Zacek were the only two runners to miss a turn.

South’s Austin Springer edged West Stanly’s Kirby Carpenter 20:16 - 20:17 to earn fifth place. Quentin Parsons (21:00) and Caleb Barnes (21:09) from Gray Stone finished in seventh and eighth place.  South’s Nick Mabry finished three seconds ahead of West Stanly’s Barron Whitey’s 21:16. The final slots on the All-County Team went to South’s Landon Fraley (21:18) and Tanner Gresham (21:26).   

After the race, a 45-minute discussion ensued among the coaches, meet host Albemarle and Charlie Phillips, Stanly County athletic director about the shortcut. Looking in the Cross Country Rule Book, they found that it clearly states that a runner taking a short cut on a properly marked course would automatically be disqualified.

Going further into the rule book, the section defining what “properly mark course” was very specific and technical. In a split decision, based on a minor technical issue, they decided to let the results stand.  

Gray Stone won the Stanly County Champion-ship with 35 points. South Stanly took second with 38 followed by West Stanly-56 Albemarle-114 and North Stanly-130.

If the runners had been disqualified, South Stanly would have been County Champ. North’s Erik Rabut (21:34) and Gray Stone’s Zach Medlin (21:46) would have replaced Thompson and Zacek on the All-County Team.

The Gray Stone Knights placed six runners on the All-County team as they easily won the girls county title. Gray Stone had a team low of 26 points, followed by West-67 and. North-70.

Gray Stone’s Hunter Latimer led from start to finish to earn the title of county champ for the third consecutive year. The junior runner completed the 3.1 mile course in 22:48.

West Stanly’s Kayla Redmon ran strong to take second with a 23:00 performance. Last weekend Redmon established a new Colt school record with a 21:03 performance at the Wendy’s Invitational.

Third and fourth went to Knight teammates Janna Featherstone (23:00) and Illa Jones (23:08). Megan Hunsucker and Jenna Huff, in their North Stanly columbia blue singlets, took fifth and sixth with times of 23:13 and 23:22. South’s Erin Thompson was seventh with a time of 23:38.

Rounding out the top 10 were Caroline McLeod (GS-23:46), Bailey Hols-houser (AL-24:16) and Jennie Wagner (GS-24:27). Gray Stone’s Katherine Barrows (24:44) took 11th and North’s Holli Chandler (24:50) 12th to fill out the All-County Squad.

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