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Cross country amazing at Providence Invitational

The Davie cross country team made its annual trek down I-77 Saturday to Charlotte’s McAlpine Park for the Providence Invitational. Over 50 teams were on hand from North Carolina and South Carolina and were split into two divisions. The runners got a break from the usual scorching August weather and were blessed with 70-degree temperatures and a misty rain.   

The Davie boys competed in the Invitational Division, where they placed sixth out of 28 teams. Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C) took home the first place trophy with 83 points to narrowly defeat Lake Norman Charter (94). They were followed by Lake Norman (141), Charlotte Catholic (146), Nation Ford  (164) and the War Eagles (168).

In the girls race, Davie claimed the fifth team spot among 23 schools. Broughton grabbed the girls title with 50 points and was followed by Lake Norman Charter (63), Indian Land (147), Community School of Davidson (155) and Davie (173).

For the boys, Nate Brooks was the first Davie finisher as he crossed the line in 11th place among 205 finishers. The junior’s time of 17:30 was a new personal record by 14 seconds and was 43 seconds faster than his time at this meet a year ago.

That started a trend throughout the morning for the War Eagle harriers. Of the 18 Davie athletes who ran in this meet a year ago, 16 of them improved their times by at least 30 seconds. Sophomore Caleb Young ran his first ever 5k cross country race and was the second Davie runner across the line as he placed 27th in 18:14. Young was followed by three classmates to round out the scoring. Andrew Brown was 33rd in 18:28, Cooper White 46th in 18:44 and Cole Swade 55th place in 18:53.

According to coach Rob Raisbeck, the Davie quartet of sophomores has shown tremendous improvement over the last year. “As freshmen, this meet last year was the first cross country 5k these guys had ever run,” he said. “Their improvement has been amazing. Andrew ran 3:01 faster than last year, Cooper was 2:20 faster and Cole was 2:02 faster.”

Parker Prysiazniuk was the lone Davie senior in the varsity race and was the sixth man in 56th place with a time of 18:54. Sophomore Sean Riordan raced home in 64th place with a time of 19:04 and was closely followed by freshman Owen Sulecki in 65th (19:05). Sulecki’s time was Davie’s fastest freshman mark at McAlpine since Clay Summers in 2015. A review of Davie’s performance at this meet over the last several years gives an indication of the young talent on this year’s team. The 2018 War Eagle squad had six runners under 20 minutes at last year’s Providence Invitational. This year’s team boasted eight runners at 19:05 or better with only one of them being a senior. Going back to 2016, Davie’s No. 1 finisher at Providence that year would have been the ninth Davie finisher at this year’s event.    

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Emerson Frantz turned in a typical dominating performance as she claimed second place among 139 finishers in the girls’ invitational race. Emerson’s time of 20:19 was 34 seconds faster than last year’s effort as she finished 25 seconds out of first.

A trio of talented Dave freshmen competed in their inaugural 5k cross country races and acquitted themselves quite well. Riley Almond placed 27th in 22:32, Lexi Kulis 32nd in 22:55 and Chloe Young 42nd in 23:08.

Junior Savannah Swisher returned to action after missing the 2018 season with an injury. Swisher placed 88th in 25:14.

Raisbeck said: “Emerson ran her typical smart race. She is so consistent and we know what she is going to give us every time out. Our freshmen looked really good and we are thrilled to have Savannah back in the lineup. We have been very cautious with her training so far this fall.”

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In the JV race, 19 Davie boys were among the 338 finishers. The War Eagles placed 10th among 38 schools. Leading the way was junior Jackson Lawrence, who placed 36th in 19:07. Senior teammate Carter Cooke was next in 67th place (19:43) and was followed by sophomore Reece Yount in 114th (20:42), senior John Motley in 115th (20:47) and freshman Sebastian McEwen in 126th (20:58).

In the JV girls race, sophomore Jenna Lee led the way in 118th place (26:45) among 222 finishers. She was followed by teammates Cadyn Tanis (30:24) and AnnaBelle Shaw (35:31).

Raisbeck also singled out the performances of several other JV runners. “One of the exciting things about coaching high school cross country is that everybody gets to compete and feel like they are a part of the team. We don’t have anybody on the bench hoping they will get in for one play. Because of that we get to see firsthand the dramatic improvement of some of our athletes even if they are not on the varsity. Four of our guys really stood out to me and coach (Jeff) Jones Saturday. These are guys that come to practice each day and work hard, not because they are going to be in our top seven but because they love the sport and just want to get better. Quentin Frost is a sophomore who ran 26:53 last year. Saturday he improved his time at McAlpine by 5:51 as he crossed the line in 21:02. Cyrus Winchester had a 5:41 improvement from 27:59 to 22:18. Luke Roberts improved 3:36 and he ran under 25:00 for the first time (24:59). And finally, Will L’Eplattenier ran two minutes faster than he ever had before in any 5k race. As coaches, we love to see the excitement on the faces of our kids when they perform like that.”

The War Eagles return to action Sept. 6 when they compete at the Friday Night Lights at Kernersville’s Ivey Redmon Park. Approximately 80 of the best teams in the state will be on hand to race on the course that will host the state championships in November.