Boys win state title; girls finish runners-up
The Falcons boarded the bus for an afternoon ride out west to Kernersville for the state meet at Ivey Redmon Park. This marked the eighth year that the state meet was held in Kernersville following many years at Tanglewood Park in Winston Salem. Temperatures Saturday were almost 20 degrees cooler than a day earlier, and an off-and-on mist and light rain made it feel even colder. In other words, it was ideal conditions for an early November race.
The Falcon boys were the heavy favorites heading into the race after having six runners under 16:00 at the regional meet. In fact, the top 5 teams from the regional races were all from the Mideast Region. While the boys were after some redemption from losing a heartbreaker in 2016 by only 1 point, nothing would be decided on paper as they would have to earn it on the course. And earn it they did. The boys went out hard from the start and sent a message to all that no one was going to deny the Falcons on this day. Seniors Peyton Barish, Finn McBride, Ryan Kemper, and Daniel Vo were with the lead pack right away. Senior Ares Epps lost a shoe very early on and was slowed as he stopped to put it back on. Junior Reed Blackman and sophomore Thomas Vo were not far behind. The biggest question as the race went on was how many Falcons could earn All-State status with top-10 individual finishes. By the time the race was officially over, Finn McBride had made a huge move to earn the individual runner-up spot. Barish and Kemper finished 6th and 7th to also make the All-State squad, while Daniel Vo missed by one spot (11th place). Blackman rounded out the scoring in 19th place as the Falcons dominated the team race, scoring an incredibly low 43 points (to 2nd place Cary’s 119). The Falcons' 76-point margin of victory stands as one of the largest margins ever in the 4A boys race.
The final race of the day was the girls 4A Race. Green Hope was expected to be a top 3 team entering the race, but the heavy favorites on this day were the Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders. The GH girls had been a bit up and down on the year, but they were determined to end the year on a high note. NC Runners predicted GH and West Forsyth would be in a battle for 2nd place -- and that is exactly what happened. The girls were behind WF early on in the race, but each girl made a strong push as the race went on and the girls pulled out a runner-up finish for the third year in a row. Kelsey Vogel ran a great race as she set a huge PR (18:19.31) and finished in 5th to earn an All-State spot. She was followed by Tess Davila (15th in 18:56 PR), Zoey Davila (22nd, 19:09), Catherine Holbrook (28th, 19:30 PR), Bailey Fowler (39th, 19:42), Natasha Abramowicz (52nd, 19:52), and Sophia Veilleux (55th, 19:55 PR). The girls made sure that, for 10 years in a row, Green Hope finished 1st or 2nd in the 4A state meet. They have a bright future ahead as they raced only one senior in the state meet and will return a very strong core of runners in 2018.
So the year ended on a high note and was another very successful year for the Falcons cross country program.
Final 2017 Team Records:
- Boys Varsity 264-7
- Girls Varsity 156-31
- Boys JV 205-3
- Girls JV 97-0