Eastern Alamance’s men’s and women’s cross country squads had a big day on Thursday, September 9, as they dominated Central Conference rivals Williams and Person in a tri-team meet at Lake Mackintosh in Burlington. The EAHS men’s team produced the top five overall times and seven of the top eight times in their 20-runner race, while the Eagles women’s squad also produced the top five times and seven of the top nine times in their meet. The victories give the Eagles momentum as they look to claim Central Conference team and individual titles this fall.
On the men’s side, junior Benny Salvatore came up with the best overall run, as his time of 20 minutes, 45.10 seconds bested the field by over nine seconds. Salvatore’s EAHS teammate, freshman Carson Gardner, came in second, producing a time of 20 minutes, 54.20 seconds. A trio of Eagles came in third, fourth, and fifth, with senior Andrew Evans placing third (21 minutes, 44.30 seconds), freshman Jake Mansfield coming in fourth (21 minutes, 44.90 seconds), and sophomore Caleb Vanderpool placing fifth overall (21 minutes, 45.70 seconds).
Following sixth place finisher Aidan Wellman of Williams - the only non-Eastern Alamance runner in the top eight - EAHS sophomore Jalen Alston placed seventh (22 minutes, 26.80 seconds), while fellow Eagle Tyler Jones, a freshman, placed eighth (22 minutes, 34.60 seconds). Mason Tanner, a sophomore, came in 14th place for the Eagles with a run of 24 minutes, 12.30 seconds, to round out the field of EAHS male runners in the meet.
Eastern’s average time of 21 minutes, 22.84 seconds, along with the clean sweep of the top five spots, easily run the team portion of the meet. Williams placed second with 55 points, and an average time more than two minutes behind the Eagles (23 minutes, 39.18 seconds). Person placed third with 74 points, and an average time of 29 minutes, 52.08 seconds.
In the women’s race, freshman Catherine Parker once again took first place, beating the field by more than 50 seconds with a time of 21 minutes, 49.40 seconds. The EAHS newcomer is making a strong push towards qualifying for the NCHSAA 3A cross country state championships later this year. A trio of Eastern juniors placed second, third, and fourth, with Alena Pak earning a second place result (22 minutes, 40.00 seconds), Audrey Hupman placing third overall (23 minutes, 41.20 seconds), and Rocio Rosa placing fourth (23 minutes, 51.30 seconds). EAHS senior Grace Dobson came in fifth place overall with a run of 26 minutes, 5.50 seconds.
Freshman Carson Story gave the Eagles six of the top seven times, as she placed seventh overall (28 minutes, 56.60 seconds), while fellow ninth grader Te Rem also recorded a top ten finish by placing ninth (30 minutes, 2.50 seconds). Sophomores Madison Page and Quincie Loy also participated in the race for Eastern, with Page placing 19th (37 minutes, 0.20 seconds) and Loy placing 20th (37 minutes, 2.90 seconds).
As a team, the Eagles swept the top five spots for a perfect score of 15 points. Their team average of 23 minutes, 37.48 seconds bested second place Person County, who scored 50 points, by an impressive 9 minutes, 21 seconds (32 minutes, 58.76 seconds). Williams did not have enough female runners to place in the team portion of the meet.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as well for the Eastern Alamance men’s soccer team on Thursday evening, as they hosted Jordan Matthews at home at Fred Brady Stadium. The Eagles were initially supposed to face off against Eastern Guilford Wednesday night in a rematch of the previous week’s frustrating 4-3 setback to the Wildcats, but that particular match wound up getting postponed. Instead, the Eagles took on Jordan Matthews, who came to Mebane sporting a 4-0-1 overall record. The Jets utilized their speed and depth to overwhelm the youthful Eagles in an 8-1 final score.
Jordan Matthews controlled the action from the outset, controlling the pace and tempo of the match, while keeping the ball on Eastern’s side of the field for most of the evening. Holding a 6-1 lead down the stretch in the second half, the Jets continued pushing forward. A pass from junior Carlos Rojas to sophomore Giancarlo Aguila resulted in a shot off the post around the 11:00 mark. Brock Rohaly nailed a shot that was deflected by Eastern Alamance goalkeeper Owen Sawyer with eight minutes remaining, but the Jets kept on the pressure, and Rohaly eventually connected on a rebound kick through the posts for a 7-1 Jordan Matthews lead.
Moments later, around the 7:08 mark, Aguila got a free kick for Jordan Matthews and he fired a shot past Sawyer for what turned out to be the game’s final goal. Eastern Alamance got a scoring opportunity downfield in the final seconds, but the Eagles were tripped up and unable to cut into their deficit as time ran out. The setback dropped Eastern’s overall record to 0-4.
Eastern’s cross country squad is scheduled to participate in the Adidas Cross Country Challenge in Cary the afternoon of Saturday, September 18, where they’ll take on numerous top teams from around the state. The Eagles’ men’s soccer team is currently scheduled to play three matches on the road next week - at Western Alamance on Monday, September 13 in Elon, at Williams on Wednesday, September 15 in Burlington, and at Bartlett Yancey the evening of Thursday, September 16 in Yanceyville.