The Eastern Alamance men’s and women’s cross country teams both placed second in the Mid-State Conference cross country meet, held Monday, December 21 at the scenic lakeside course at Lake Cammack in Burlington. In both races, the Eagles placed second behind conference champion Northern Guilford.
Both of the Eagles men’s and women’s squads will move on to the NCHSAA Mideast regionals, which will be held Saturday, January 16.
“It is a smaller regional meet, because of the Covid crisis, but will be strongly competitive. It is restricted to the top three teams out of each Mideast conference regional teams,” said Eastern High head coach Richard Kohrman. “It will be a challenge for EA, both men and women, to move on as a team or individuals to the state 3A finals. But I always tell them, "We run for first, never second.’ We are looking forward to this challenge.”
In the Mid-State Conference men’s race, Eagles sophomore Andrew Parker - a state qualifier in 2019 as a freshman - placed third overall, with a time of 18 minutes, 19.61 seconds. Parker placed behind only two Northern Guilford runners, seniors Jack Dingman (17 minutes, 36.50 seconds) and Ernesto Barrios-Zavala (18 minutes, 12.42 seconds).
Fellow EAHS sophomore Benny Salvatore also placed in the top ten in the Mid-State meet, as his time of 22 minutes, 6.91 seconds placed tenth overall. Northern Guilford placed seven of the top ten finishes in the race, with only Parker, Salvatore, and Western Alamance’s Tyler Journigan, who placed ninth, breaking the trend.
Freshman Caleb Vanderpool cracked the top 15, finishing 15th overall with a time of 22 minutes, 33.94 seconds. Fellow EAHS ninth grader Masson Tanner (25 minutes, 10.50 seconds) placed 24th, while junior Kaden Gibbs (27 minutes, 3.39 seconds) placed 29th overall. Freshman Tyler Storey rounded out Eastern’s contributions in the race with a 34th place finish of 28 minutes, 57.43 seconds.
Between the five runners placing 3rd, 10th, 15th, 23rd, and 27th, EAHS posted a score of 78, which bested third place tied McMichael and Rockingham County’s score of 91. Northern Guilford dominated with a low score of 18 (top five runners placing 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th), while Western Alamance placed fifth with a score of 105. Morehead (139 points) placed sixth, while Person County placed seventh and last with a score of 185.
In the women’s race, Eastern High standout Laila Anderson did not compete, but the Eagles still managed to place second overall. Sophomore Audrey Hupman posted the top finish for EAHS, recording a time of 25 minutes, 31.80 seconds to place eighth. Fellow Eagles tenth grader Rocio Rosa also cracked the top ten with a tenth place run of 26 minutes, 15.65 seconds.
Anderson was named by the Mid-State Conference’s coaches as the Female Cross Country Runner of the Year for the fall of 2020. Although she didn’t compete in the conference championship meet, she will be eligible to participate in the Mideast Regionals, where she will hope to qualify once again for the state finals.
“Laila will be eligible to run (in the Mideast Regionals) since the women's team moved on as a qualified team from our conference championship,” Coach Kohrman explained.
Showing the strong future promise of the EAHS women’s squad, junior Grace Dobson came in 12th with a time of 27 minutes, 17.20 seconds, while another tenth grader - Adrianna Glancy - came in 17th with a time of 31 minutes, 2.32 seconds. Eastern’s other participant in the race - freshman Quincie Loy - came in 38th overall with a run of 42 minutes, 41.80 seconds.
As a team, Eastern’s score of 72 points outdid Northeast Guilford’s 80 points for second place. As in the men’s race, Northern Guilford’s women dominated in the team event, placing each of the top five runners for a perfect low score of 15 points. Person County placed fourth with 100 points, while Morehead placed fifth with a score of 106 points.