The Transylvania Times -

By Phillip Latter
BHS XC Coach 

Lady Blue Devils XC Team, Graham, Robinson On To State – Brevard NC

 

November 3, 2016

The Brevard High School girls' cross country team turned in a second place performance last weekend at the 2A regional meet and will look to defend their state title this Saturday at the state meet in Kernersville. (Photo courtesy of Chris Dauster)

Graham and Andrew Robinson waited for a morning where everything clicked.

On Saturday they got their wish, as the duo finished 1-2 to earn their ticket to state, an hour before the girls earned their second straight 2A West Regional runner-up.

Robinson and Graham were content to sit in the lead pack through the first mile at Freedom High School in Morganton.

A strong second mile whittled the contenders down to four, and when the Brevard duo attacked the final hill the outcome was assured.

The only question was who had would have more speed in the end.

True to form, defending mile/two-mile state champion Graham powered away over the final stretch to win in 16:26, with Robinson just three seconds behind.

While the individual outcomes were all but assured, Brevard still had a hand in the team race.

Will Coye ran the race of his life to finish 21st, with Noah Schoenacher not too far behind in 45th. Alex Hargis rounded out the scorers in 82nd place.

In the end, Brevard's team score of 151 was 11 points too many, as Smoky Mountain just edged them out for the fourth and final spot at state.

"That's really as good of an outcome as we could expect given the last few weeks," said head coach Philip Latter. "We've had some major off-the-field injuries in the last two weeks, so we were missing our usual No. 4 runner and another had just been medically cleared. That said, those who performed did an incredible job. Noah and Andrew have been building toward this moment all year. They've faced their share of hurdles as well, but it looks like they'll be ready when it matters most next week at state."

The girls' team found themselves in very different circumstances.

All but assured of qualifying for state, their main focus was seeing how they'd stack up against rival Lake Norman Charter despite several runners being under the weather. The answer was pretty well, as they ended up just 4 points behind.

Ava Findlay moved up well throughout the race to take third place, with Eliza Witherspoon pushing through to seventh despite only being about 70 percent healthy.

Lillie Siniard (12th), Julia Smith (20th), and Alydia Monahan (21st) rounded out the top five for Brevard, with Alyssa Lefler and Emma Dauster right behind.

"We knew coming in that we weren't going to be at our best, but I didn't see anyone shy away from the competition," said Latter. "We went out there, did the best we could on this day, and lived to fight again when it matters most. I like going in as underdogs; it fits our mentality. I think trying to defend our title on Saturday is going to be pretty amazing."

The NCHSAA State Cross Country Championship will take place Saturday in Kernersville at Ivey Redmon Park. The boys' 2A race is at 3:30 p.m.. The girls' 2A race is at 4:30 p.m.

 
 

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