Two Davie runners in state cross country meet

Published 12:54 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Kernersville’s Ivey Redmon Sports Complex was the site of the state cross country championships on Nov. 4. Teams from across North Carolina competed in four boys’ and four girls’ races across the various classifications. Davie was represented by junior Thomas Essic and sophomore Ethan Lakey, who punched their tickets to the state meet by virtue of their performances at the previous week’s regional meet.

The War Eagle runners acquitted themselves well against the fastest high school runners in the Tar Heel state.

Essic crossed the line in 43rd place with a time of 16:40, while Lakey followed close behind with a 61st place finish of 16:55.

Noah Valyo of Athens Drive raced to a course-record time of 15:05 to claim the individual title. He was followed by fellow seniors Raghav Gopalakrishnan of Ardrey Kell (15:15) and Cuthbertson’s Thomas Wlazlowski (15:39).

Marvin Ridge dominated the team race with 88 points to defeat Broughton (137) and T.C. Roberson(148). From the CPC, Reagan claimed the ninth spot (262), while Mt. Tabor was 17th (362). A total of 21 teams and 28 individuals (including the two Davie runners) qualified for the 4-A race, which had 171 finishers.

The 4-A girls’ race also saw a course-record performance. Myers Park senior Mary Bonner Dalton crushed the field with a stellar time of 16:54. Her winning time bested runner-up Chandler Welsh from Reynolds (17:44) by nearly a minute. Weddington’s Grace Hanson was third in 17:46. Cardinal Gibbons took top honors in the team race as its 60-point total outpaced defending champion Cuthbertson (105) and Tabor (136). West Forsyth was 14th (353) among the 20 competing teams.

“It was a good day for us,” said Davie coach Rob Raisbeck.  “It is a tremendous accomplishment to make it this far and be able to compete against so many amazing athletes from across the state. Thomas and Ethan were a little disappointed with their races, but they shouldn’t be. Take out the seniors and Thomas is 21st. Ethan was the eighth-best sophomore in the state. Those numbers put things in perspective.

“We will spend the next six months working on our speed and trying to improve on our mile times. We got off of the line pretty well but we were still 5-7 seconds slower than where we wanted to be at the mile. With so many good runners and a course that narrows soon after the start, it’s really hard to improve your position in the second mile on the race. So we need to get out a little better. We will come back next year, hopefully with the full team, and see how much we have learned and improved.”

Although the high school cross country season has concluded, postseason meets await.

“Several of our top guys are going to run the Nike SE Regional meet Nov. 19 at Cary’s Wake Med Park,”  said Raisbeck.

Runners from across the southeast will compete in one of several regional meets in hopes of qualifying for the national meet,  which will take place in December in Oregon.

“We will also be transitioning to indoor track over the next month, followed by the outdoor season in the spring,” added Raisbeck. “Our runners have a tremendous desire to improve, and in many ways training for next year’s cross country season starts now.”