Blue Devils XC Team Puts Together Top 10 Showing At Eye Opener Invtl. - Brevard, NC


September 7, 2017

Will Coye entered his junior year with two main goals: break 17 minutes for the 5K distance (3.1 miles) and help the boys cross country team qualify for the 2A State Meet.

After Saturday’s spectacular race in Spartanburg, Coye is halfway there.

Taking advantage of surprisingly good weather and course conditions, Coye hopped onto the back of the main pack early in the highly competitive International Race.

Eighty-one schools sent their teams to Spartanburg, and that critical mass allowed Coye to fly through the opening mile in just over five minutes.

Not far behind him, sophomore Dylan Sasser and seniors Aidan and Bryce Spradlin were moving up through the pack.

Although the boys team was still not at full strength, those early miles gave a glimpse into their long-term potential for the season.

By two miles, Coye was still on sub-17 minute 5K pace, but it took a heroic hill sprint at mile 3 and a final kick to ensure he moved into the upper echelon of North Carolina distance runners.

He froze the clock at 16:49, a personal best by over 20 seconds. Sasser (18:25) and Aidan Spradlin (18:52) both finished well. Bryce Spradlin overcame stomach issues to gut out a 20:08 finish for the boys, with freshman Isaiah Lefler rounding out the scorers with a personal best time of 21:08.

“Will really set the tone for today’s race,” said Latter. “He’s methodically worked his way into better and better shape over the last two years, and today was a great glimpse of what he could do soon. He’s dreaming of being a top-10 guy at state, and after today I can say that’s realistic. Dylan and Aidan ran great, and once we have our full roster at our disposal I think we’re going to sneak up on some people and be contending at the big meets.”

For the second week in a row, Ava Findlay led the Lady Devils, this time with a finish of 20:10.

Unlike years past, however, the gap to the rest of the team was fairly miniscule as Alyssa Lefler lopped off 45 seconds from her previous personal best to finish second on the team.

Lillie Siniard (21:10) followed, with Alydia Monahan (21:36) and Madeline Dierauf (22:16) close behind. Anna Schrader (22:21) and Julia Smith (22:37) both competed well for the Devils to round out the scoring seven.

As a whole, the team placed seventh in one of the most competitive races in the Southeast.

“We have incredible depth this year, from No. 1 to No. 12,” said Latter. “If we stand on that podium again this year at state, it’ll be because several of those girls take the next step and push to be leaders out there. Today, especially with the way Alyssa and Alydia ran, I think we saw the beginning of that transition.”

The Blue Devils will compete at home on Saturday at the Main Street Mile before heading to Shelby the following Tuesday.


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