KERNERSVILLE — No middle school Pioneer finished in the top 3 of their respective divisions, but as a team Watauga showed why roster depth matters in both the boys and girls division at the NCRunners Elite XC Invitational. Watauga won team championships in both the girls and boys divisions of the Pioneers’ final meet of the 2021 season.

Individually, 6th grader Cali Townsend finished No. 4 in the girls division, covering the 2-mile course in 12:49.60. For team scoring purposes, she was No. 2 as the top 2 individual finishers were either running unattached or were running for schools that did not have full teams. Molly Barber, an 8th grader from P Performance (Mint Hill, North Carolina) finished No. 1 in 11:52.21.

The remaining four Watauga girls all finished in the top 13, individually, and in the top 9 among the entries in the team competition. They included Sydney Cate Townsend (No. 6, 12:58.68), Jane Beach-Verhey (No. 8, 13:14.43), Lily Kimbrough (No. 9, 13:23.19) and Lainey Johnston (No. 13, 13:58.24). In the girls division, 58 athletes competed.

In the boys division, the results were eerily similar. Calvin Zwetslloot finished No. 4 (11:50.24), just under 20 seconds behind No. 1 David Eaton of Pacers Homeschool in 11:30.38.

Other Pioneer scorers included Miles Kimbrough (No. 8, 12:41.34), Grady Gates (No. 9, 12:59.46), Elijah Healy (No. 12, 13:12.30) and Cameron Nance (No. 16, 13:40.72). Silas Powell finished at No. 18 (13:58.77). The boys division included 55 runners.

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