West Stanly runs at Wingate, Wendy’s Invitational
The West Stanly cross-country team had two meets which helped prepare the Colts to compete in the Rocky River Conference and Stanly County Schools meets this past week.
With two conference weeks lost due to Hurricane Florence, the teams of the Rocky River Conference met at Wingate University the first week of October for a match on what was scheduled originally as a bye week.
The heat and bugs slowed runners’ times on the grassy course, but did not affect the Colts in terms of success as a team as the Colts took first place in the women’s and men’s races.
The Colt duo of Pierson McManus and Natalie Almond continued to dominate the RRC competition. The pair separated itself early and went on to finish first and second by more than two minutes. McManus, a senior, ran 21:50 for the victory, while freshman Almond ran 21:55 for second place.
Senior Brooklyn Simpson gave the Colts a top three sweep, racing 24:12 for third overall. The Colts did not give up many spots in the top 10 as sophomore Rachel Efird was sixth, senior Maddie Miller was seventh, junior Katherine Pollard ninth, and freshman Laney McCollum 10th, giving the Colts seven of the top 10.
The top seven Colts’ score of 19 was four points from a perfect score. Central Academy was second with a 49, followed by East Montgomery (79) and Forest Hills (98); Anson failed to have enough runners to score as a team.
While the men’s race was closer, the team finish had the same outcome as the Colts won with a 26, followed by Central Academy (33), and East Montgomery (77). Anson and Forest Hills did not have enough men to finish for a team score.
The Cougars had the individual winner with Noah Estrada running 19:18, but he had three Colts breathing down his back. Freshman James Shue broke from the pack of three Colts to close within eight seconds for the runner-up spot. Shue ran 19:26, finishing first for the Colts for the third time this season.
Junior Korbin McNeill followed him across the line in 19:41, with senior Noah Almond tight behind him in 19:43, giving the Colt men three of the first four finishers.
The Colts fourth and fifth runners — sophomore Austin Huneycutt at 20:38 and junior Nathan Brown at 20:46 — finished eighth and ninth to seal the team victory. The Colts continue to pack well with five in the top nine, with 80 seconds separating the five. The Colts sixth and seventh runners were freshman Blayne Morton (17th) and junior Daniel Brattain (19th).
As the West Stanly cross country team headed into October they were hoping for fall temperatures but instead the summer heat and humidity continued to soar.
The Colts headed back to McAlpine Park in Charlotte for their last invitational, the recent 43rd Wendy’s Invitational. Unfortunately for West, the 3A and smaller schools drew the later times to race so all the Colts headed to the start line as temperatures headed toward 90 degrees.
The top seven Colt women were up first.
The Colts women demonstrated their toughness, finishing ninth out of 26 teams with scores. Top ranked NC 2A Carrboro won the meet.
Freshman Natalie Almond finished as the top Colt for the first time this season. She went out faster than normal through the mile and built a 20-second lead over senior teammate Pierson McManus through the two-mile mark. With half of a mile to go McManus had cut the lead in half and looked set for her patented fast finish, but Almond chose to have her best homestretch kick. Almond charged to the finish in her second-best time this season (21:13) for 25th out of 196 finishers, with McManus running 21:30 for 30th place.
Senior Maddie Miller managed tired legs the day after homecoming better than her fellow senior teammates, racing to a season-best 22:28 for 48th. Sophomore Rachel Efird stayed consistent at McAlpine, running 23:42 for 75th.
Freshman Laney McCollum had a breakout day for the Colts, racing to a personal record 23:52 for 83rd place and in the Colts fifth spot. The time also landed the freshman 42nd on the Colts top 50 all-time list.
Junior Katherine Pollard ran a season best 24:31, with senior Brooklyn Simpson having an off day running 24:38.
The rest of the Colt women were packed in with more than 500 other runners in the last and hottest high school race. Freshman Aniston Hann led this group of Colts with a finish in 26:26.
On the men’s side it was even warmer for the top seven Colts.
Junior Korbin McNeill raced 18:34 for 45th place, while moving back into the Colts No. 1 spot. Freshman James Shue led McNeill through two miles, then held on to run 18:48 for 53rd.
Senior Noah Almond had an off day in the heat, running 19:50 for 110, with sophomore Austin Huneycutt close behind in 19:52 for 113th place.
Junior Daniel Brattain had 20:01 for 118th. Fellow junior Nathan Brown was close to the Colt pack, racing 20:16 for 129th. Senior Graham Tucker ran with the top seven, racing to a 22:07.
The race had 226 finishers, with Westminster High School winning the team competition. The Colt men finished 13th out of 34 teams.
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