West women advance to cross-country state meet
The 2018 2A Midwest Regional is in the books and the West Stanly women’s cross-country team is headed to the state championship for the fifth straight year. The Colts will join Midwest champion North Lincoln High, as well as Lake Norman Charter and East Lincoln High as the qualifying schools from the Midwest region.
A NCHSAA cross-country rule exists which states 25 percent of the teams with at least five runners starting the race will qualify for the state meet. Unfortunately for teams on the bubble hoping to qualify, only 17 of the 27 schools had five women to start, limiting the regional to four teams to qualify.
All the teams and runners were greeted by a wet and muddy Ivy Redmon course, with conditions only getting worse with each race. The West coaches reminded their team that on a slippery course beating other runners to qualify was more important than personal times.
The Colts did that as the top seven women all had solid races to finish in the fourth and final qualifying spot, with the fifth-place team 40 points behind.
Senior Pierson McManus and freshman Natalie Almond continued to set the standard at West as both runners went out fast to finish in the top 15. McManus had her fastest regional time in four years despite the muddy conditions. McManus ran 21:05 to finish 12th, only 11 seconds from making the all regional team.
Almond went out strong, then held on to run 21:22 to finish in 15th place.
Senior Maddie Miller has continued to get stronger each race, running 22:45 for 32nd.
Teams needed to pack well to have a shot at qualifying and the Colts’ four through six runners did just that. Sophomore Rachel Efird ran 23:35 for 49th, senior Brooklyn Simpson ran 23:39 for 50th and freshman Laney McCollum ran 23:49 for 52nd. Junior Katherine Pollard ran with that pack through two miles before slowing a bit in the mud to run 25:00 for 77th.
The men teams started with more optimism with 22 full teams lining up to race which allowed six team to qualify for the state meet. The Colt men ran solid races but missed out on the state championship, finishing 10th, four spots out of qualifying. North Lincoln won the meet with a low score of 22 points.
Colt junior Korbin McNeill ran a fast 18:22 through the mud, finishing 32nd overall and was the top runner from the RRC.
Senior Noah Almond closed out his high school cross country career running 19:10 for 54th. Almond will leave as the 31st fastest Colt.
Teammate freshman James Shue ran 19:26 in his first regional for 66th. Sophomore Austin Huneycutt was sick most of the week but still ran 19:38 for 73rd.
Senior Graham Tucker ran his last cross-country race in the Colts top five with a 20:04 for 84th.
Two Colt juniors sprinted in together with Daniel Brattain 20:18 for 99th and Nathan Brown 20:22 for 100th.
The Colt men will bring back five of this season’s top seven runners along with young talent for the 2019 season.
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