Ashville runners win second straight section title


Photo by Chris McCarthy

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

The Ashville High girls cross country team had three runners place in the top 10 and four more in the top 25 on the way to a first-place finish at the Class 4A Section 3 Meet on Nov. 1 at Fairview.
It was the second straight section championship for the Lady Bulldogs.

Ashville finished third in the boys event. Wyatt Knight set the school record set by Daniel Tully with a third-place time of 16:51.47. Hokes Bluff’s Sam Green qualified for state as an individual with n ninth-place time of 17:231.06. Green and both Asheville teams will compete at the AHSAA state meet this Saturday, Nov. 9, at Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center in Danville.
Ashville’s average time of 21:28 was 13 seconds faster than runner-up White Plains. Every Bulldog runner set a season personal record, including Wyatt Knight, Molly Northam, Joe Stevens, Clayton Knight, Walker Griffin, Greyson Simpson and Bruce Pantoja.
“Our runners showed up and were ready to run,” said Ashville coach Michele Rogers. “The weather ended up being just about perfect. All of the kids knew that they had to run their best race for their teammates. The girls wanted to take first place for the second year in a row, and the boys were seeded closely with three other teams who were battling for the third and fourth spots for state.”
For the girls, Taylor Knight (pictured above) led the way with a second place showing of 20:30.74. Kathleen McCarthy was third at 21:04.82, followed by Meghan McCarthy in fifth place at 21:06.10 5.
Callie Stewart posted an 11th-place time of 22:19.41, followed by Emma Drinkard (12th, 22:22.03), Molly Northam (13th, 22:42.58), Emma Thompson (21st, 23:37.31) and Grace Staples (34th, 25:46.07). Hokes Bluff’s Kiera Johnson qualified as an individual with a 28th place time of 24:31.18.
Top 25 performers for Ashville were Joe Stevens (15th, 17:57.11), Clayton Knight (17th, 18:01.88) and Cesar Segura (24th, 18:26.94). Helping the Bulldog cause were Walker Griffith (18:08.79), Alex Pantoja (19:49.82), Greyson Simpson (20:08.08) and Bruce Pantoja (21:24.01).
“Wyatt has been working hard all season, and his hard work paid off,” said Rogers. “When I asked him how it felt, I got a slight grin. We still have one more meet this season and two more years to see what else Wyatt will accomplish. It was great to have some new faces cheering us on at our sectional meet, and we especially appreciate our great parents who are always somewhere on the course cheering for us.”
The Ashville girls are seeded third for Saturday’s state meet, including three runners in the top 15. The boys are seeded eighth with Wyatt Knight seeded in the top 10.

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