A week after placing fifth at the 4-A Mideast Regional, Wakefield junior Mitch Mallory did one better at Saturday's NCHSAA 4-A state cross country meet capturing fourth with a time of 15:58.
Wakefield's Mallory places fourth at states
One by one Wakefield's Mitch Mallory pushed toward the front of the pack at Saturday's 4-A NCHSAA cross country state meet at Tanglewood, taking down one heavyweight runner after another.
Yet entering the homestretch, the junior said he didn't know exactly where he'd finish.
"I didn't even know where I was," he admitted. "I just ran it like it was the last race I'll ever run. And then I started passing people.
"There goes (Cary's) Mohamed (Abushouk), there goes (Broughton's) Reidy (Jones) and Pierre (Malherbe)."
With each name Mallory moved his head as if he was passing them again.
Sanderson's Mitchell Feldman (center) placed 13th in Saturday's 4-A Mideast Regional Cross Country meet in Cary, helping the Spartans to a second-place finish and a bid to states.
Mallory, Spartans state-bound
George finishes second;
Lady Wildcats nab fourth
A few hundred meters from the finish line of the biggest — and best — race of his life, Wakefield's Mitch Mallory tripped over his own two feet.
But the junior gathered himself —albeit spitting mad — and completed the race, placing fifth in Saturday's 4-A Mideast Regional Cross Country meet with a time of 15:58.23. His finish qualified him for next week's 4-A state championships in Winston-Salem — and he's the first runner to advance to the finals from Wakefield in at least six years, coach Wayne Dubnansky said.
"I tripped and fell on my way up the hill," Mallory shrugged afterward. "I just caught my own leg. I was in a bad mood coming up to the finish. I was pissed. I just wanted to get to the finish line as fast as I could."
Millbrook sophomore Samantha George captured first place in Tuesday's Cap-7 Conference Cross Country Championship, posting a time of 18:14.99. In addition to George's win, the Lady Wildcats also claimed the team title, tallying a score of 44.
take Cap-7 crowns
George repeats as girls' winner, posting a time of 18:14.99
Entering Tuesday's Cap-7 Conference girls cross country championship race at WakeMed Soccer Park , Millbrook sophomore Samantha George — last year's conference champion — and Wildcat coach Brian Schneidewind compiled a strategy.
It was simple plan, really.
George was to hang in the lead pack, and pull away late. A good plan — likely a winning plan, too, considering her success last year.
But the 10th-grader decided against it.
"My coach wanted me to stay with the next top girl and leave her at the hill," George said. "But I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to go early."
The result? George posted a remarkable time of 18:14.99 en route to her second consecutive title, besting second-place, Leesville Road's Lauren Strapp, by nearly 30 seconds.
The Sanderson and Millbrook girls cross country teams — as well as Broughton — are expected to be the leading contenders for the Cap-7 Conference title Oct. 20.
Cross Country teams battle for Cap-7 title Oct. 20
Ask around and you will find out pretty quickly league meets leading up to the Cap-7 Conference Cross Country Championships — scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 20, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary — are basically just exhibitions.
While winning dual meets are good for building confidence, they don't carry much weight in standings. Why? Because there are none.
The championships are basically a final exam. How each program does in the conference comes down to this one day, and one race.
And today's finale won't be an easy one to pass.
Despite battling a recent injury, Wakefield's Rob Bailey put together an impressive race Thursday, Sept. 24, finishing third in the Wolverines' cross country meet against WF-R.
Wakefield XC takes
two from WF-R
As Wakefield cross country runner Michael Mondou closed in on the finish line — on the heels of Connor Richey, and ahead of Stephen Taperek — during Thursday's dual meet against Wake Forest-Rolesville, head coach Wayne Dubnansky shouted out exuberantly "You guys have won the race for us!"
Asked if he remembered the moment the day after Wakefield's 25-34 win, Dubnansky said he did, and again commended the entire boys' squad for an outstanding — and unexpected — performance.
Entering the meet, the coach predicted Wake Forest-Rolesville, just a few days removed from an outstanding showing at the Wolfpack Invitational, to defeat his Wolverines.
Wolverines sweep Cougars
The Wakefield cross country team pulled out two wins over rival Wake Forest-Rolesville Sept. 24. For photos of the action, click on the photograph above.
Sanderson cross country runners Philip Hathaway (from left), Mitchell Feldman, Matt Schick and Ben Boyles (behind Schick) all finished in the Top 7 of last week's meet against Wakefield.
in cross country
It is said there is strength in numbers, and as the Sanderson boys cross country team made the final turn toward the finish of last week's home meet against Wakefield, the Spartans looked plenty strong.
In a show of great camaraderie, the Spartans slowed their pace, waiting for their top seven runners to group together, and cross the finish line within three seconds of each other.
First, Ben Boyles crossed with a time of 18:10, then Matt Schick, Mitchell Feldman and Matt Geisz a second later, and soon thereafter Billy Fetzner, Andrew White and Philip Hathaway.
Wakefield's Blake Watkins broken up the string of Sanderson runners, finishing nine seconds later, with a time of 18:21.
Wolverines, Spartans square off in cross country
The Wakefield and Sanderson cross country teams battled Wednesday, Sept. 2. For photos of the meet, click on the picture above.