So the fall 2020 4A state meet was finally held on the morning of January 22nd, 2021. This was the 1st contested state championship for North Carolina public schools since February. It marked the end of a crazy and very long season. While the official season began in early November and was technically shorter than normal, many of the runners had started preparing in late June and had to scale back their training a bit a couple times as the season was delayed.
For the 1st time since 2001 the girls team did not qualify for the state meet, but the boys would be there representing GreenHope. The meet was split again into 2 heats to meet Covid guidelines. The 4 regional team champs were in the “fast” heat as well as the 2 2nd place boy’s teams with the lowest team scores. Green Hope and Millbrook were the 2 teams to qualify for the fasterheat, but there would also be very good runners in the “slow” heat and results would be merged again to decide the team champ.
Leading up to the race it appeared as though it would be a very competitive event and would just depend on which team ran the best on this day. Most fans of cross country would have looked at it this way heading into the race: Millbrook and Hoggard just a notch above the next group. Cary, Green Hope, Cardinal Gibbons, Myers Park, and Ardrey Kell in the next tier and then West Forsyth,Panther Creek, and several other teams. Awrench was thrown into that about 14 hours before the race as Thursday evening it was announced that Millbrook could not compete due to one of their runners getting Covid and the resulting contact tracing. So heading into the meet it looked like several schools would be chasing Hoggard for the title.
The boys were ready to go. They had a good year and displayed the results all winter of the hard work they put in during the summer months. With no true frontrunners it would depend on the strength of the pack to determine their fate. Early on in the race it looked like the Falcons would be in the mix for the title as they had most of their runners in very good position. Over the second half of the race, though, the 5th and 6th runners dropped backa bit and that gap would be impossible to overcome. 16pts separated 1st place from 7thand unfortunately the Falcons fell all the way to 7th while Gibbons pulled out the upset win. While 7th place was disappointing it was an extremely close race (1st place103, 2nd place 105, 3rd 112, 4th 114, 5th114, 6th 118, and 7th 119).
6 of the 7 who ran in the state meet return in the fall as well as 14 of the top 17 runners. Thegroup returning for the 2021 season now knows what it takes to compete at the highest level and will be ready to really go for it. Thanks for all the hard work guys. Your coaches are proud of you!