Cross country teams win Pfeiffer Invitational
Published 8:51 am Thursday, September 23, 2021
The Davie cross country team was among 15 schools that converged on Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer Sept. 18 for the Pfeiffer Invitational. The War Eagles were the defending champions in the varsity boys and girls races, having won both events the last time the meet was held in 2019. The boys entered the race as heavy favorites but the girls looked to be in a dogfight for second.
Raleigh Wakefield appeared to be the class of the field in the girls race. When the dust settled, however, the Davie harriers brought home first in each race.
The varsity boys started with the first race of the day, and there was never much doubt about the outcome. Charging to the front at the start, the Davie boys controlled the race from the outset.
The individual race turned into a dual between South Davidson’s William Lyons and Davie’s Andrew Brown. Lyons came into the race with the fastest time, and he and Brown separated themselves from the rest of the field a mile into the 5k race. A late surge by Brown could not be matched by Lyons, and the Davie senior cruised to an eight-second victory with a time of 17:28. Reece Yount sprinted home in third place in 18:10 and was followed by teammate Cole Swade, whose time of 18:13 was good for fifth.
Junior Owen Sulecki grabbed the sixth in 18:42, while freshman teammates Tyler Hill (18:56) and Thomas Essic (19:00) crossed the line in eighth and ninth place. Sebastien McEwen was 13th in 19:33.
Davie dominated the team competition with 18 points. Wakefield followed with 81 and Oak Grove took third with 115.
“We wanted a low-key race at this point in the season after competing in two large invitationals to begin the year,” said coach Rob Raisbeck. “We like this meet because it gives us an opportunity to get the work in from a training standpoint but without the stress of some of the big meets we have on the schedule. We were not concerned about times as the course is a little soft in places, rugged in others and is generally a slow course. Most of our runners raced in their training shoes instead of their spikes due to the uneven terrain.”
After the dominating performance by the boys, it was the girls turn to shine. Halfway through the race it looked like the pre-race prognostications would hold true. Wakefield went out quickly and looked to have a comfortable lead after the first loop of the two-loop race.
Freedom’s Katie Deacon cruised to victory with a time of 20:45 to outdistance runner-up Meah Walsh of East Burke, who claimed second in 21:58.
Riley Almond was the first Davie runner as she finished fourth in 22:32. Lexi Kulis was 10th in 23:20 as she finished just ahead of sophomore teammate Gracie Spicer, who was 12th in 23:31. Katie Shupe made her cross country debut and placed 19th in 24:45, while Logan White rounded out the scoring with a 24th place finish in 25:17. Raelyn Lankford was 38th in 26:42, Ava Rajacich 51st in 28:23 and Isabel Kittleson 57th in 29:26.
Unlike the boys race, the girls competition came down to the wire, and when the final results were tallied, the War Eagles emerged victorious. Davie’s total of 59 points edged Wakefield’s 66 and Central Davidson’s 101.
“Coach (Jeff) Jones and I were kind of shocked at the final result,” said Raisbeck. “Wakefield got out fast and we thought they had it won. Looking at the final results, it looks like they struggled on the second loop and we made up a lot of ground. During the awards presentation, the meet director only announced the top two teams, and when they announced that Wakefield was second, we were a bit stunned. We were strong through the first three spots, but in cross country your team is only as good as your fifth runner. Getting Katie in the lineup for the first time this season was a big boost, and Logan passed a bunch of girls over the last 400 meters. That was the difference for us.”
The boys JV race was the last race for Davie and was curious. Wheatmore took the team title with 33 points to edge Davie (41). “Wheatmore didn’t run in the varsity race,” said Raisbeck. “They ran their varsity in the JV race for some reason.”
Wheatmore’s Zach Hazelwood won in 20:30. The top Davie finisher was Will Allard, who took third in 21:17. Cooper White was eighth in 21:48, Hayden Key 10th in 22:00, Jesus Guzman 12th in 22:19 and Noah Shore 15th in 23:49.
Davie returns to action Oct. 2 at Hagen Stone Park in Guilford County. “There will be about 50 schools at that meet,” said Raisbeck. “That is also a pretty fast course, so I expect we will see some quick times from a bunch of our runners.”