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The Hunt High girls, Fike High boys cross-country teams and Hunt Lady Warriors senior Isabel Reed extended championship streaks in the 12th annual Wilson County Championship cross-country meet on a sun-splashed Monday afternoon over the 5-kilometer Wilson Christian Academy course.
Senior leadership in the truest sense spearheaded the Hunt High girls to their fourth consecutive championship.
The Lady Warriors’ only three seniors — Isabel Reed, Emma Fatzaun and Rebecca Pierce — raced to top-four finishes as coach Rusty Boyette’s squad seized a three-team scramble from Wilson Christian Academy and archrival Fike.
Hunt amassed 38 points for its top five runners. WCA, with 48 points, edged Fike (50) for second. Then came Beddingfield (90) and Community Christian (153).
Reed, after a third-place finish her freshman year, notched her third straight individual crown with a time of of 22 minutes, 27 seconds — her best of her senior season.
Keyed by three finishers in the top seven, the Fike High boys captured the program’s third consecutive championship, accumulating 39 points as compared to 54 for runner-up archrival Hunt.
Wilson Christian salvaged third with 66 points, trailed by Beddingfield (90) and Community Christian (153). Greenfield School, with four runners, did not qualify for a team score.
CLOSE GIRLS RACE
“Mighty close!” reacted Hunt’s Boyette. “Our saving grace was finishing first, third and fourth.”
Wilson Christian runners formed a pack and Boyette assured he was extremely concerned when four consecutive Lady Chargers finished ahead of Hunt’s Nos. 4 and 5 runners. But the triumphant Reed, with her signature colorful knee socks and blonde locks; Fatzaun in third place and Pierce in fourth provided ample cushion for Hunt to continue its rule.
“I guess it’s a dynasty,” Boyette said tongue-in-cheek.
Reed prevailed 65 seconds ahead senior runner-up Mikaela Taylor of Beddingfield. Reed posted her best time of the season.
“We went out pretty fast,” Reed reviewed her race. “I kept with the pace, tried to do my best and race myself. And I thought about my team. It was a pretty good course — I liked it.”
Reed, however, was more focused upon the team accomplishment.
“This was one of our best meets,” she declared. “Winning this was a tradition and four in a row has never happened. This is a big deal to us. I was really excited; this was one of our most important races. We were really nervous. It’s a great way to end the season — a little bit of a legacy.”
Decisive for Hunt was a 14th-place finish from Molly Lamm and a 16th-place effort from Carolina Vasquez.
Wilson Christian of the North Carolina Christian School Athletic Association 2-A ranks was paced by senior Jenna Varnell’s sixth-place showing. Ocean Reece took ninth, Katie Glover 10th, Holland Miller 11th and senior Ashley Hardy 12th. Varnell expected the Lady Chargers to take third.
“Wilson Christian really brought it,” she exclaimed. “We came out better than we thought. My goal was to go as far as I could as fast as I could. I did! I feel very good; I pushed myself.”
Taylor emerged Beddingfield’s bright spot with a second-place time of 23:32.
“Not my best,” Taylor described. “For the most part, I could keep up. But the course was long on the straightaway and that’s where (Reed) got me. Overall, I feel good. I wanted to win it but the main thing was to stay focused. Because I work (a job), I have to practice more.”
Freshman Raegan Fulghum paced the Lady Golden Demons in fifth place with her best time of 24:03. Blair Boyette, another freshman, took seventh. Olivia Jernigan also landed all-county acclaim in eighth place.
FIKE EDGES HUNT
The Golden Demons, with junior Amando Robles claiming second place, senior Sam Stevens sixth and Ugo Uwakwbe seven, amassed 39 points for their top five runners, followed by archrival Hunt with 54.
Leading from start to finish, Hunt junior Chelear Forbes captured individual supremacy with a time of 18 minutes, 37 seconds, besting Robles by 31 seconds.
The 12th annual championship produced a precedent in that each of the six schools landed a runner in the top 10, thus earning all-county championship acclaim.
First-year coach Cheryl Gardner noted Fike repeated without the services of its No. 2 runner.
“We ran well,”she commented. “I was very pleased. Someone else stepped up and helped us out. I expected we could win it, but I knew it would be a challenge.”
Rounding out the Demons’ top five runners were Ryonaka Ya in 15th place and Kief er Snedeker in 17th.
Completing the top five individually were Wilson Christian senior Jackson Hoskins in third, Greenfield sophomore Will Powell in fourth and Community Christian sophomore Caleb Daniels in fifth. Daniels’ inspiration was running for his twin brother, Noah, who was injured in an automobile accident in June and unable to participate.
“We did really good as a team,” Fike’s Robles assessed. “As far as I could tell, a lot of my teammates were pushing hard.”
Robles, of course, was involved in a race up front with Hunt’s Forbes.
Forbes trotted out front from start to finish. And once he reached a straightaway area of some 720 yards, he took off.
“My time was not really what I was going for,” Forbes expressed, “but I am happy with it. I just wanted to win. I run the 800 and I knew, if I could get (to the straightaway) in front, I knew I had it from there.”
Beddingfield’s front-runner was Deonte Edwards with a 10th-place effort.