Cross country team pulls off shocker
Published 10:56 am Thursday, August 30, 2018
The Davie cross country team travelled to Charlotte’s McAlpine Park Saturday for the Providence Invitational and made a little history in the process.
Competing in the Invitational Division against teams from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, the Davie boys raced to a second-place finish with 99 points, a mere four points behind Lincoln Charter (95). Northwestern from Rock Hill, S.C., was third with 107.
So unexpected was the result, the meet director proclaimed the War Eagles’ performance “shocking” and marked the first time in the event’s history that the Davie boys had claimed a top-two finish. In all, 30 schools were represented in Davie’s race with 26 posting scores. Another 20 or so schools competed in a separate race.
Coach Rob Raisbeck reflected on the team’s performance after the race. “A lot of folks were surprised by how well we ran Saturday, but (assistant) coach Jeff Jones and I really believed we were ready to race well. I tell the kids all the time that it takes two years of hard work to build a distance runner. We are beginning our third year with the program, and the results are beginning to show. Our athletes that train all year and run track in the winter and spring are seeing the dividends of their hard work. Needless to say there were some happy War Eagles on the podium when we received that trophy.”
Leading the charge for Davie were Trey Raisbeck and Clay Summers, who claimed the third and fourth individual spots, respectively, in a field of 200-plus runners. Raisbeck’s time of 17:03 was 33 seconds faster than last year. Summers crossed the line next in 17:09, which was also a 33-second improvement.
Davie’s four other varsity runners also showed dramatic improvement from last year. Nate Brooks finished 23rd in 18:13, bettering last year’s effort by a remarkable 2:17. Braxton Folmar was 28th in 18:27. Although he missed last year’s race, Folmar was running about 90 seconds slower at this time last year. Parker Prysiazniuk was 47th in 18:49, an improvement from last year’s 20:12 effort. Jackson Lawrence was 81st in 19:49, an improvement from last year’s 21:17 performance.
Looking inside the numbers gives a view into how much the team has improved in just one year. According to coach Raisbeck, at last year’s race the Davie boys finished 18th with an average time of 19:15 among the top-five scorers. The time split between the first and fifth Davie runner was 2:54. This year the boys were second with an average time of 17:56. The time gap was 1:46. Last year the War Eagles had two runners under 20 minutes. This year there were five under 19 minutes.
“We have certainly made a lot of progress,” said Raisbeck. “But we have a long way to go. As well as we ran Saturday, if the regional meet was today it would still be difficult to qualify for states. The Midwest 4-A Regional is brutal. We have to get better but I am confident we will.”
The Davie girls lined up against 29 other schools, of which 22 posted team results. Despite missing three varsity runners due to injury and SAT’s, the girls still managed a very respectable 10th-place finish.
Emerson Frantz led the way with a seventh-place finish in 20:53. Teammate Brooke Smith ran an all-time personal best for the 5k distance with a time of 21:46, which was good for 17th. Paige Riordan was 41st in 23:02 to give the War Eagles three solid finishers. Presley Jones battled painful shin splints in both legs but still managed to place 116th in 25:45. Rounding out the scoring for Davie was freshman Jenna Lee running her first ever cross country 5k. Her time of 27:38 was good for 151st.
Coach Raisbeck commented about the girls’ performance. “Our top three girls all ran well as expected. Presley was really hurting as the race progressed, but she gave it all she had. I really hated to throw Jenna into the fire like that, but we had nobody else to run at the fifth spot. I think she did a great job under the circumstances of having to run the varsity race.”
The Davie girls only entered four athletes in the JV race, so they did not register a team score. Freshman Heidi Dix was first across the line for the War Eagles in her first 5k race with a time of 29:23.
The Davie boys had 20 entries in a huge field of 435 runners representing 37 scoring teams and numerous other individuals. The War Eagles acquitted themselves quite well with a 15th-place finish. Four of the top six Davie finishers were freshmen. Sean Riordan led the way with a 97th-place finish in 20:13. Carter Cooke was 103rd in 20:18. He was followed by Cole Swade in 125th (20:45), Cooper White in 141st (21:04), Andrew Lawrence in 147th (21:14) and Andrew Brown in 158th (21:29). Other Davie top-200 finishers were Garrett Penley (21:50), Jared Bruch (21:50) and Reece Yount (22:05).
Next up for the team is Friday Night Lights at Kernersville’s Ivey Redmon Park on Sept. 7. The War Eagles will be among 80 teams representing programs from all over the state.
“We will be in the championship races at the end of the meet with the main event starting at 9:15 under the lights,” Raisbeck said. “If you have never been to a cross country meet, this is the one to see. The meet will culminate with a fireworks display. Hopefully we will make some fireworks of our own.”