Essic 2nd of 111 at Hagan Stone cross country meet

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The Davie cross country team travelled to Hagan Stone Park in Pleasant Garden last Saturday for the annual Hagan Stone XC Classic. A total of 26 teams from across North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee competed on the 5k course in nearly ideal conditions. The War Eagles had perhaps their best performance of the season as 21 of the team’s 28 competitors notched either season’s best or all-time personal record performances.   

The Davie boys started things off with the first race of the morning in the championship varsity race. The raw team score had Davie tied at 71 points with Science Hill of Jonson City, Tn. However, when individuals not competing on full teams were removed from the count, the War Eagles’ tally came up a point short as Science Hill claimed the title 60-61. Jack Britt followed in third with 92.   

Junior Thomas Essic established a new personal record time of 16:16 to take second place behind Ragsdale senior John Howard, who finished in 16:02. A total of 111 runners completed the race.  Essic’s time demolished his previous best mark by 20 seconds.

Ethan Lakey continued his stellar sophomore campaign with an eighth-place finish in 16:55. Junior Tyler Hill was close behind as he recorded a season’s best effort of 17:02 for ninth place. Sophomore Brayden Kistner took 20th place in 17:51, while junior Aric’s Boles’ time of 18:18 was good for 32nd. Freshman Jacob Steelman ran under 19 minutes for the first time with a big PR of 18:47. That effort landed Steelmen in 38th. Rounding out the Davie varsity effort was sophomore Jackson Sulecki, whose 55th place finishing time of 19:11 was a 19-second PR.

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The Davie girls put a full team on the line for the first time this season and came away with a fourth-place showing. Science Hill claimed the title with 21 points to outdistance Virginia’s Galileo  (78), Jack Britt (94) and Davie (117).

In a field of 71 finishers, senior Gracie Spicer had her best effort of the season with a 15th-place time of 21:58. Sophomore Lexie Marion also had her best time of the season as her 22:51 effort landed her in 19th place. Sophomore Clara Phelps was the breakout performer for the War Eagle ladies. Her 27th-place finish in 22:58 was over a minute faster than her previous all-time best. Sophomore Emilia Marks placed 42nd in 24:46, while sophomore Isabella Schilling rounded out the scoring by placing 60th in 27:26. Freshmen Kinsley Shinski and Bridget Wood also competed for Davie.

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A  total of 90 runners competed in the boys JV race. Science Hill claimed the team title with a near perfect score of 16 points. Davie followed with 59 as the War Eagles edged third-place South Lenoir (67).

Sophomore Logan Zuleger made his season debut after battling an injury the last six weeks. Zuleger raced to an impressive fifth place finish of 18:44. Sophomore Chris Devicente was 15th with an 18-second PR of 19:19. Senior Slade Keaton broke the 20-minute barrier for the first time with a 20th place finish of 19:50. Sophomore Jackson Shook set a new PR of nearly a minute with his 23rd place effort of 20:03. Freshman Jack Bost ran over a minute faster than ever before with a new PR of 20:42 to place 31st. Freshman Ty Greene also established a huge PR with his 35th place finish of 20:56. Not to be outdone, freshman Tyler Deaver ran a new PR of 21:39 to finish 41st. Junior Jake Hannah place 49th in 22:23. Freshman Patrick Brady joined the PR parade with a big improvement of 22:30 and a 51st-place finish. Sophomore Caswell Moore turned in a season’s best effort of 22:54 to place 56th.

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Davie also had four competitors in the JV girls race. Sophomore Abby Lane was the first War Eagle finisher and was followed by freshman Hayden Brown, sophomore Alexa Villa and sophomore Maggie Smith.

“We did a lot of good things today,” said coach Rob Raisbeck. “Our younger kids are showing dramatic improvement over the last six weeks. We have a bunch of our athletes running three minutes faster than they did at the start of the season. For the boys, we have an average team time of 17:12, which is the fastest team time in our eight-year tenure as coaches. And we have no seniors among our 10 fastest runners at the moment. Our girls are starting to come along as well. They are getting healthy and should continue to improve over the next month.”

The team now transitions to championship season with the CPC meet scheduled for Oct. 18 at Ivey Redmon Park in Kernersville. The 4A Midwest Regional will follow on that same course Oct. 28.

“This is the exciting time of the season,” said Raisbeck. “Reagan and Mt. Tabor are strong for the boys. They are the teams to beat at conference. The Mt. Tabor girls are the class of the conference and are among the top five teams in the state, so we are looking forward to that challenge as well.”