Eastern Alamance High’s men’s and women’s cross country teams made their way to Lake Cammack on Wednesday, October 6 for another Central Conference meet. The Eagles men’s squad had a strong showing, placing four of the top 13 runners for a second place overall finish, while the EAHS women’s team put forth a courageous effort, placing three participants in the top ten despite being down multiple top runners.
The Eagle’s men’s team was led by sophomore Jalen Alston, who placed seventh overall in the race with a time of 20 minutes, 56.65 seconds. Junior Benny Salvatore also cracked the top ten with a time of 21 minutes, 24.98 seconds. Right behind Salvatore was freshman Tyler Jones, who came in 11th overall with a time of 21 minutes, 33.27 seconds.
In 13th place was Eagles senior Andrew Evans, who posted a time of 21 minutes, 42.01 seconds. It was the performances of Alston, Salvatore, Jones, and Evans, along with a 27th place time from sophomore Caleb Vanderpool (22 minutes, 45.13 seconds), that resulted in 68 points for the Eagles, good for a second place finish. In addition, sophomore Mason Tanner placed 37th overall (23 minutes, 55.70 seconds).
The men’s race was dominated by Orange, who placed five of the top six runners for a top score of 19 points. Williams placed third (85 points), followed by Cedar Ridge (107 points), Northwood (110 points), and Western Alamance (117 points). Orange freshman Abezu Delvecchia breezed through the field to take first place overall with a time of 19 minutes, 3.31 seconds, followed by junior Roman Morrell of Cedar Ridge, who placed second with a time of 19 minutes, 27.45 seconds. Morrell was the only non-Orange runner to crack the top six.
The EAHS women’s squad was short-handed at the race, as the Eagles were without Alena Pak and Audrey Hupman, two of the team’s more consistent runners throughout the fall season. In addition, Eastern’s top runner, freshman Catherine Parker, was fighting through an illness that affected her throughout the race.
Northwood High’s Carolina Murrell, one of the top 3A cross country runners in the entire state, paced the field with a first place time of 21 minutes, 18.09 seconds. Murrell finished more than two and a half minutes ahead of her Northwood teammate, fellow senior Emma Serrano, who placed second (23 minutes, 49.62 seconds).
Despite not having two of their top runners in Pak and Hupman, the Eagles still managed to have three runners finish in the top ten. Junior Rocio Rosa put up the top time among the EAHS runners, finishing third overall with a run of 24 minutes, 12.53 seconds. Rosa, a standout tennis player who went undefeated in single’s play during the spring season, has taken up cross country this fall as the Eagles did not field a women’s tennis team this fall.
Senior Grace Dobson placed eighth overall in the race, recording a time of 25 minutes, 32.42 seconds. Dobson sprinted past ninth place finisher Addie Holt (25 minutes, 33.56 seconds) in a dramatic flurry near the finish line. Parker, in a brave performance, placed 10th overall with a time of 25 minutes, 48.01 seconds, fighting through her sickness and tripping during the race to crack the top ten.
Other Eagle results from the race included freshman Carson Story, who placed 31st (31 minutes, 5.72 seconds), fellow EAHS ninth grader Te Ram, who placed 32nd (31 minutes, 13.78 seconds), sophomore Chloe Scott, who placed 38th (32 minutes, 50.38 seconds), sophomore Madison Page, who placed 47th (37 minutes, 0.83 seconds), and sophomore Quincie Loy, who placed 50th overall (38 minutes, 0.23 seconds).
The Eagle women slipped to fourth out of seven teams competing in the race, producing 82 points to come in just behind Orange’s 80 points, but one point ahead of fifth place Williams. Northwood won the team portion of the race (54 points), while Cedar Ridge placed second (67 points).
Next for the Eagles is the Central 3A Conference race, which will be held on Tuesday, October 19 on the campus of Northwood High School in Pittsboro. The nearly two weeks between the October 6 race and the Central Conference championship race will hopefully give the Eagles women’s team time to rest and heal up so they can make a run at a conference title. When at full strength, the Eagles women’s team has consistently placed first this season in conference meets, and will be looking to surpass Northwood, Cedar Ridge, and Orange to win the first-ever Central Conference women’s cross country championship.