Cross country runner Simmons earns state berth

Published 9:55 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

After earning all-conference honors for the second straight year, Davie cross country runner Nick Simmons was on center stage in Saturday’s Midwest Regional at Ivey Redmon Park in Kernersville.

The senior finished 16th and qualified for the state meet. Not only did Simmons blow past his 28th-place finish in the 2014 regional, he became the first Davie male runner to earn a state berth since Alex Fleming in 2010.

In the Central Piedmont Conference championship meet the week before, Simmons placed seventh.

“There have only been two times since 1998 that a male cross country runner from Davie has qualified to go to states,” coach David Koontz said. “In 2010 Fleming qualified individually. In 1998 the entire boys team that included Davie Hall of Fame inductee Garrick Hill raced in the championship. To say what Nick accomplished on Saturday wasn’t a big deal would be an understatement.”

Simmons ran an impressive time of 16:38 and qualified for the state by being one of the top-seven individuals not on one of the top-four teams.

“We knew he needed to be close to the top 15 to have a chance,” Koontz said. “This region is no joke and by far is the best in the state. Now that Cardinal Gibbons has been added, we feature three of the top six teams in the state out of the four regions.”

Mt. Tabor won the team title, followed by Gibbons, East Chapel Hill and Durham Jordan. Davie finished 13th out of 22 teams.

Also finishing strong for Davie were seniors Peyton Jones and Cade Spencer with times of 17:59 and 18:01, respectively. Clay Summers finished his first year with a bang, grabbing a personal-record time of 18:13. John Myers was fifth for Davie with his best time of the year at 18:08. Bryson Penley had his best time at 18:39,  and Alex Rodriguez finished at 19:41 to round out the top seven for the War Eagles.

Simmons will compete individually back at Ivey Redmon Park this Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

For the Davie girls, the War Eagles finished 12th out of 20 teams. Katelyn Hernandez crossed the line just a few hundredths of a second in front of Emily Pender to be the first two Davie finishers.

Abby Yount was third at 22:23, which was her best time of the year.  Allie Carter (23:45) and Salem Cartner (23:52) were fourth and fifth. Then the sister duo of Meredith and Savannah Everett were sixth and seventh for Davie at 24:00 and 24:21.