MORGANTON — It was billed as the Northwestern Conference “Pre Conference Meet” but might just as well been called “The Watauga Pioneers Cross Country Show.”
Both the boys and girls teams won their respective divisions, the girls by sweeping the first nine places and the boys with a dominating team performance that saw nine Pioneers among the top 23 finishers.
Pioneer junior Gwendolyn Anderson took home top honors at Freedom Park for the 5,000 meter harrier event, finishing in 21:20.35, nine seconds ahead of senior Sidra Miller. Sidelined earlier in the season by an injury, Miller’s second place time was 21:29.44.
Other Watauga girls included:
- Rachel Cathey (No. 3, 21:33.41)
- Moriah Bollman (No. 4, 22:07.19)
- Sophie Beach (No. 5, 22:12.25)
- Ava Curtis (No. 6, 22:23.07)
- Brianna Anderson (No. 7. 22:51.13)
- Andriana Rink (No. 8, 22:51.89)
- Maddie Bollman (No. 9, 23:16.70)
- Ella Triplett (No. 19, 24:45.05)
- Janie Soucek (No. 26, 25:40.69)
- Caroline Beach-Verhay (No. 27, 25:43.07)
- Ellary Smith (No. 28, 25:43.28)
- Kara Schneider (No. 39, 27:04.41)
Watauga had 24 of the 81 runners competing in the girls division, representing Watauga, Alexander Central, South Caldwell, Freedom, Hibriten, Draughn, St. Stephens and Ashe County high schools.
Girls Division Team Results
- Watauga (15)
- Freedom (81)
- St. Stephens (82)
- Ashe County (96)
- Alexander Central (137)
- Hibriten (153)
- South Caldwell (168)
A trio of Pioneer seniors led Watauga to a first place team finish in the boys division, led by Ethan Cannon crossing across the finish line ahead of the field, in 18:12.13.
Micah Rushin completed the Freedom Park 5,000 meter course in sixth, in 18:44.29, while Ethan Campbell finished No. 11, in 19:46.21.
A pair of sophomores and a couple of freshmen completed the Watauga scoring as the top seven from each school counted toward the team scores. Sophomore Wesley Coatney was No. 17 (20:36.24), followed by freshmen Will Bradbury (No. 18, 20:37.01) and Jonah Norris (No 19, 20:37.45), with sophomore Collin Anderson completing the Pioneer scoring at No. 20 (20:40.52).
Finishing just outside of the top 20 were Davis Crymes (No. 21, 20:43.80), Axel Albu (20:53.20), Roman Sibaja (No. 28, 21:29.69) and Alex Gremmell (No. 29, 21:32.31).
Seventy-nine (79) athletes competed in the boys 5,000 meter race, representing Watauga, South Caldwell, Alexander Central, Freedom, Draughn, Hibriten, St. Stephens, and Ashe County.
Boys Division Team Scores
- Watauga (53)
- Alexander Central (82)
- St. Stephens (86)
- Freedom (111)
- Ashe County (113)
- Draughn (120)
- South Caldwell (126)