Essic 7th out of more than 3,000 cross country runners

Published 1:23 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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The Davie cross country team made the first of several trips this fall to Kernersville’s Ivey Redmond Sports Complex on Sept. 8 for the annual Friday Nights Lights extravaganza. Over 100 schools and more than 3,000 athletes competed in 12 races, culminating with the championship race under the lights just before 10 p.m.  A total of 25 Davie runners traversed the course, with many of them achieving personal best times.

The Davie boys were among 40 schools in the Invitational Division and came home with a 12th-place finish. Thomas Essic raced to a personal record time of 16:36 to knock 18 seconds off of his previous best time. That finish was good for seventh place in a field of well over 300 competitors.

Ethan Lakey was close behind in 11th place with a time of 16:54. Teammate Tyler Hill claimed 23rd in 17:16. Rounding out the scoring for the War Eagles were Brayden Kistner in 157th (19:04) and Will Allard in 218th (19:46). Also competing in the varsity race were Jacob Steelman (20:04), Jackson Sulecki (20:05) and Chris Devicente (21:35).


The Invitational girls varsity race featured three Davie athletes. Gracie Spicer led the way with a 98th place finish and a time of 22:48. Lexi Marion followed in 23:37 and Emilia Marks crossed the line in 24:43. With only three runners in the race, Davie did not register a team score.


The boys JV races were divided into two sections. The senior/junior race featured three War Eagle harriers. Aric Boles knocked nearly a minute off of his previous best time and claimed fifth place in the huge field with a time of 18:34. Slade Keaton was next across the line in 22:40, while Jake Hannah rounded out the Davie effort in 25:11.

Clara Phelps was the lone Davie runner in the combined girls JV race as she clocked a time of 26:52.


Several Davie runners competed in the sophomore/freshman JV race. Jackson Shook led the way with a time of 20:58. He was followed by teammates Ty Greene (22:41), Jack Bost (23:38), Patrick Brady (25:11) and Caswell Moore (25:40).    


The high school portion of the meet began with a two-mile coed developmental race, which featured five members of the Davie girls’ team. Bridget Wood made her cross country debut after only a week of practice and was the first War Eagle across the line in 19:27. She was followed by Abby Lane (21:40), Alexa Villa (22:11), Hayden Smith (22:39) and Maggie Smith (23:26).

Also of note, the meet started with a middle school two-mile race. Ellis, under the guidance of coach Erica Bost, was represented by five runners. Leading the way was seventh grader Kristen Starkey, who placed 17th in 13:34. Mia Wyatt was next in 15:24 as she edged out teammate Reece Rye (15:32). Emma Mallory was next in 18:43 and was followed closely by Berkley Brown (18:44).

“It was a pretty good night for us,” said Davie coach Rob Raisbeck. “We still have some guys out of the lineup that we hope to get back soon. And we purposely raced Aric in the JV race to give him some confidence. If he runs the varsity race we would have finished in sixth place. We actually were in first place through our first three finishers. We just need to continue developing depth.

“Out of our 20 runners who competed at the 5k distance, 17 of them ran considerably faster than our opener two weeks ago and this is a slightly slower course,” said Raisbeck. “Many of our runners were 1-3 minutes faster than at the Providence meet. That kind of improvement is what we love the see at this point in the season. It was also good to see the Ellis team out there. Coach Bost is doing a great job with that program. They have several girls who will hopefully join our program in the next two years, and we have been watching their progress.”

Next up for the Davie team is a return to Charlotte’s McAlpine Park on Sept. 23 for the Hare and Hounds Invitational. Over 100 schools from four states are scheduled to compete in that event.