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Cross country dominates at Pfeiffer

The Davie cross country team travelled to Stanly County last Saturday for the Pfeiffer University High School Invitational and put on quite a show. The War Eagles dominated 17 other schools and returned to Mocksville with three championship trophies. The varsity boys, varsity girls and JV boys all claimed team titles while the JV girls placed third. Emerson Frantz was the overall girls champion.

The varsity boys race got underway at 9 a.m. under clear blue skies. The race figured to be a two team race with Oak Grove which narrowly lost to Davie on a tie-breaker two weeks earlier at Friday Night Lights.  When the dust settled, the War Eagles claimed victory by the slimmest of margins. Davie tallied 80 points to edge Oak Grove by two points. Central Davidson (101), East Lincoln (110) and South Rowan (130) rounded out the top five. South Rowan’s Noah Julian was the individual champion in 17:08 while East Lincoln’s Noah Lesser crossed the line in second (17:14).

Caleb Young lead the Davie boys with a huge 20 second personal record time of 17:36 to place 5th. Nate Brooks took 10th in 17:51. Rounding out the scoring were Cooper White in 19th (18:44), Owen Sulecki in 22nd (18:47) and Andrew Brown in 24th (18:57). Cole Swade placed 25th (18:58) and Parker Prysiazniuk was 43rd (19:49). Sulecki’s time was a 17 second PR as he went under 19 minutes for the first time.

“We expected a battle from Oak Grove and we got it,” said coach Rob Raisbeck. “Each of their first three runners were ahead of our top three as they finished third, seventh and eleventh but our depth won it for us at the four and five spots.” The War Eagles youth movement was also on display as their top six runners consisted of one junior, four sophomores and a freshman. Meanwhile, each of the other top six teams featured at least two seniors in their top five finishers.

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The varsity girls race also came down to the wire. Davie claimed the title with 62 points to edge Jesse Carson and the Cannon School with 74 points each. East Lincoln and East Davidson each scored 119 to round out the top five. Frantz ran away from the field to claim the title in 20:31 to easily outdistance Cannon’s Victoria Schneider by 14 seconds. Riley Almond was the next War Eagle runner across the line in 8th place (22:31) and Chloe Young was right behind in 9th (22:33). Young’s time was a personal best by 23 seconds. Lexi Kulis nabbed 15th place (23:09) and Paige Riordan rounded out the scoring in 29th (24:26).

“Lexi has been nursing an injury the last few days and we decided about an hour before the race to let her run,” said Raisbeck. “Paige has also had an issue with her hip that flared up in the race but both girls got through it and secured the win for us.” Raisbeck added, ”we expected a tight battle with Carson but we put three in front of their number one to give us a big cushion.”

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The JV boys were up next and brought home the third title of the morning. Davie’s score of 32 points outdistanced Wheatmore (49), East Lincoln (55), Oak Grove (124) and Central Davidson (124). The final score, however, was not indicative of how close the race was in the early stages. “The course was basically two loops and at about the halfway point in the race East Lincoln was beating us pretty soundly,” said Raisbeck. “East Lincoln’s number three and four runners were in a pack with our top two. Coach (Jeff) Jones and I made sure our guys knew where they stood in the race and they responded with a great effort over the last 2000 meters.”

South Davidson’s William Lyons (19:09) and Jeremiah Ivory (19:18) claimed the top two individual spots. They did not enter any athletes in the varsity race and elected to enter only those two athletes in the JV race. Sean Riordan’s 3rd place finish (19:44) lead the War Eagles. He was followed by Carter Cooke in 5th (20:07), Sebastien McEwen in 7th (20:18), Davis Byers in 12th (20:44) and Sam Warner in 15th(20:48). “We had a bunch of PR’s in the JV race,” said Raisbeck. Sebastien and Davis had big improvements over their previous best times. Sam is coming on strong after returning from injury. And two other guys in particular had great efforts. Luke Roberts knocked over a minute off of his previous PR and Will L’Eplattenier ran a 45 second PR.”

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The final race of the day was the JV girls race as the thermometer soared toward 80 degrees. Carson took the team title with 19 points to outpace Cannon (60) and Davie(82). Wheatmore (90) and Gray Stone (100) rounded out the top five. Presley Jones was the top War Eagle runner as she claimed 12th place (27:50) in her season debut. Ava Rajacich was 14th (28:32), Katie Freeland took 23rd (30:31), Jenna Lee was 30th (32:18), Cadyn Tanis was 34th (33:35) and Nicole Korczyk placed 35th (33:36).

The team returns to action Oct. 5 at the Hagan Stone Classic in Pleasant Garden. That meet will mark a dramatic step up in competition as a number of strong teams from Virginia are scheduled to compete.