Lady Blue Devils Claim Regional Title, Advance To State


October 30, 2017

Courtesy Photo

The rainy weather didn't stop the Brevard Lady Blue Devils from taking home another 2A Western Regional title Saturday afternoon. Brevard took first place by 41 points and secured another trip to the 2A state championship meet. The Lady Blue Devils will go for their third straight 2A team title this Saturday in Kernersville.

Living in the wettest county east of Oregon, the Blue Devils didn't flinch when large gray clouds started rolling in along the Swannanoa River right before the beginning of the 2A West Regional cross country meet.

By the time the heaviest rains set in around noon, the Lady Devils were already well on their way to celebrating a Regional championship and a chance to defend their back-to-back state championship titles.

As she has in every race she has competed in this season, Ava Findlay led Brevard on the course.

Unlike her uncontested conference victory, Findlay found herself in a dogfight the last two miles with Bunker Hill's Caroline Hilliard.

Despite making a strong move in the last quarter-mile, Hilliard closed the best and took home the individual regional title by 3 seconds, with both girls just under 20 minutes on the rolling 5K course.

Findlay wouldn't have to wait long for reinforcements to arrive, as Brevard's depth quickly overran the field of 127 girls.

Alydia Monahan (7th – 20:56) closed the best for the Lady Devils, finishing a few steps ahead of teammate Alyssa Lefler (8th - 20:58), who ran in fourth place for most of the race despite waking up with flu-like symptoms and almost not competing.

Madeline Dierauf (12th – 21:18) had her second consecutive huge race for Brevard, with Lillie Siniard (19th – 21:33) close by.

Toby Huter (37th -22:39) and Julia Smith (47th – 23:02) rounded out the seven competitors for Brevard.

"It was nice to get into a race like this and be able to relax and just focus on execution and problem solving," said head coach Philip Latter. "When you have one of your leaders sick or injured, it's always interesting to see who responds and picks up the slack. Alyssa ran a valiant race, Madeline ran a smart race, and Alydia ran a gutsy race. Combine that with Ava leading us and Lillie running like she has in past State meets and we'll be in the hunt next weekend."

Brevard won with a score of 46 points. Smoky Mountain was second with 87 and Hendersonville third with 102.

The Blue Devils will enter the State Meet ranked No. 6, but Latter doesn't believe that matters.

"I don't think we've ever gone into the State meet as favorites, even when we were ranked No. 1 last year," he said. "We'll just be ourselves – excited and curious to see what we can do on the biggest stage."

Joining the Lady Devils in Kernersville will be William Coye, who placed 10th overall for the Blue Devils.

Despite strong performances by Dylan Sasser (22nd – 18:02) and Aidan Spradlin (27th – 18:19), the Blue Devils placed eighth, two spots outside the last qualifying spot.

Bryce Spradlin (56th – 18:52), Parker Grant (73rd – 19:32), Charles Kang (82nd – 19:51), and DaCota Dysinger (98th – 20:11) also ran well for Brevard.

"I'm thrilled for Will, but missing qualifying as a team by such a small margin was pretty crushing," said Latter. "Sometimes there are things beyond your control. You hate to look for moral victories, but at the same time these soul-sucking moments often lead to breakthroughs and renewed motivation. It hurts now, but I don't think this disappointment will ever define these kids or how they remember this season."

In the 1A Boys Race, Rosman senior Jonathan Ray ran 17:26 to place 6th overall and qualify for State as well.

The Blue Devils will now head to Kernersville's Ivey Redmon Park on Saturday for the 2A State Championship.

The 2A Boys race is at 3:00 p.m .; the girls will follow at 4:00 p.m. The 1A boys race will take place during the morning session at 10 a.m.


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