Davie sophomore tops 177 others in cross country invitational

Published 2:05 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

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The Davie cross country team made its season debut Aug. 26 at the Providence Invitational at Charlotte’s McAlpine Park. A total of 53 teams from four states competed in brutally hot conditions.

A total of 24 Davie athletes competed, with seven racing their first cross country 5k.

More than 1,000 runners were divided into six races. There were two varsity races each for the boys and girls as well as large JV races.

Competing in the Invitational Division, the Davie varsity boys were the first of the War Eagle contingent to take the course.   

A veteran trio of Davie runners quickly established themselves in the lead pack as they came through the first mile in a relatively quick time of 5:07.

Halfway through the 3.1-mile course, the runners were greeted with the one significant hill on the course. By the time the field crested the hill, three runners had established themselves in the lead.

Davie sophomore Ethan Lakey, junior teammate Thomas Essic and Wakefield’s Callin Farr turned the race into a three-way battle over the next mile.

Lakey pulled away over the last 800 meters and cruised to victory with a time of 16:45. Essic took third in 16:59. Tyler Hill settled for 25th place in 18:28, while sophomore Brayden Kistner finished 47th (19:16). Senior Will Allard rounded out the scoring in 88th place (20:29) in a field of 174 finishers.

A pair of South Carolina schools claimed the top two team finishes as Waccamaw (74) edged James Island (75) by a point. Lake Norman Charter (109), Hickory Ridge (139) and Davie rounded out the top five in a race that had 24 teams register team scores.

Coach Rob Raisbeck was pleased with the effort of his short-handed boys’ squad.

“We had two of our guys out of the lineup today,” said Raisbeck. “And Will was not feeling well before the race. He gutted it out and did the best he could under some really tough conditions. The heat was just oppressive out there. That just makes the performances of Ethan and Thomas all the more impressive. They have both had really strong summers from a training standpoint, and we are excited to see how fast they can run in October.

“Tyler has also had a good summer, but he is not a heat runner. I expect him to run under 17:00 when the temperatures drop later in the season. Brayden is somebody who has also really come on and is training well. Hopefully we will have our full lineup in place, if not for our Sept. 8 race, at least for the Sept. 23 meet when we return to McAlpine.”   


The Davie girls were next as they also competed in the Invitational Division, which featured 137 finishers.

Senior Gracie Spicer placed 25th with a time of 23:16 to edge sophomore teammate Lexi Marion, who finished 30th in 23:38. Sophomores Emilia Marks (77th in 26:27) and Clara Phelps (99th in 28:12) were next across the line for the War Eagles. Davie had only four finishers and as a result did not register a team score.

“We are battling some injuries on our girls’ squad right now,” said Raisbeck. “I’m not sure at this point when we will be at full speed. We expect to have a couple of more girls come out this week, so hopefully that will add to our depth.”


A massive boys’ JV race was next up and featured 10 Davie runners in a field of 296 finishers.

Sophomore Jackson Sulecki was the top Davie finisher as he claimed 22nd place in a time of 20:14. The remaining War Eagle scorers were freshman Jacob Steelman (28th in 20:21), junior Chris Devicente (40th in 20:49), sophomore Jackson Shook (59th in 21:26) and freshman Tyler Deaver (153rd in 23:29).  Other Davie finishers included  junior Jake Hannah (177th in 24:22), freshman Ty Greene (196th in 24:57), freshman Jack Bost (198th in 25:00), sophomore Caswell Moore (255th in 27:20) and freshman Patrick Brady (267th in 28:26).

Green Hope took home the title in the JV race with 30 points to outdistance Marvin Ridge (88) and Weddington (128). Davie placed ninth out of 24 team scores.

Davie also had three girls making their cross country debut in the JV race. Freshman Abby Lane led the way, followed by teammates Alexa Villa and Hayden Smith.

“By the time we got to the JV races the heat was getting really bad,”  said Raisbeck. “I almost pulled the girls out of the race, but to their credit they all wanted to run. That just enhanced my respect for each of them.

“All in all, it was a good start to the season. Winning a race of this caliber is really hard to do and doesn’t happen very often, so watching Ethan  break the tape with Thomas right behind him was a lot of fun. Coach (Leah) Reynolds, Coach (Jeff) Jones and I are excited about the season to come. We have some really dedicated student-athletes in our program who want to get better and are doing what they need to do to make that happen.”

Next up for the War Eagle harriers is the Friday Night Lights meet Sept. 8 at Kernersville’s Ivey Redmond Sports Complex. Right at 100 schools will be competing on the course, which will be the site of the state championships in November. The four varsity races will begin after 8 p.m. under the lights.

“FNL is truly a spectacle,” Raisbeck said. “You have to experience it to fully appreciate what an awesome sport we have.”

Races begin as early as 5 p.m. and Davie will have runners spread across a number of races, including varsity races at 8:25 and 8:50 that evening.