Wacker Finishes Third in Cross Country
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Pinecrest's Andy Wacker hit "the wall" for the first time in his running career at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons Saturday morning.
The Patriot senior finished third in his bid to win the NCHSAA State 4-A Cross Country Championship. His time of 16:01 put him behind second-place Dakota Lowery of West Johnston (15:54) and the winner of the race, Taylor Gilland of Chapel Hill (15:39).
Chapel Hill successfully defended its 2005 boys' and girls' team titles. The Patriots came in fourth in the boys' competition, while the Patriot girls finished in sixth place.
Wacker went into the race holding the seventh all-time best time on the Tanglewood Park course (15:51). He went head-to-head with Gilland and Lowery at the Wendy's Invitational in Charlotte last month, edging Lowery by four seconds and Gilland by five. He finished second in that race, posting a Pinecrest school-record time of 15:20.
The East Regional champion was in first place going into the last 800 meters on Saturday, with Gilland close behind.
"At two miles I saw that my time was 9:57," Wacker said after a workout on Monday. "I was on a pace to break the course record. At about 700 meters, my body basically locked up. It's the first time I ever experienced anything like that."
Patriot coach Ed Kelly chose to focus on Wacker's performance in setting the school's career mark, not the tough time he experienced in the state meet.
"He set a time that will stay up for a long time," Kelly said. "As far as I'm concerned, he is a champion."
Other top finishers for the Patriot boys were Brett Baggett, 19th (16:51), and Mark Moon, 35th (17:08). Freshman Rebecca Dupre continued her late-season surge, leading the Patriot girls with a 31st-place finish (20:15). Also finishing in the top 50 for the Patriot girls were Amanda McKinney, 34th (20:23), Stephanie Shannon, 35th (20:27) and Lauren Bishop, 45th (20:55).
The winner of the girls' race was Kim Spano of North Mecklenburg in a time of 18:21.
The Pinecrest boys' and girls' teams were Mid-Southeastern Conference and East Regional champions this season. Wacker and McKinney both won their conference and regional championship races.
Both teams surpassed their preseason state rankings with their finishes.
Also at Tanglewood Park on Saturday morning, the Union Pines boys' team finished eighth in 3-A and the Viking girls came in 14th.
Senior Blake Boyd led the Cape Fear Valley Conference and Mideast Regional champion Viking boys with a 15th-place finish (16:56). LeAnne Ferrell was first in for the Viking girls in 45th place (21:06). The boys' race was won by Ryan Hill of Hickory (16:00). Caroline Kirby of team champion T. C. Roberson was first in the girls' race (19:09). Mooresville was the team champion for the boys.
Saturday afternoon at Tanglewood, the Yadkin Valley Conference champion North Moore girls' finished eighth in the 1-A team competition won by Hayesville.
The Mustangs were paced by Hannah Thomas, 49th (22:33), and Hannah Carriker, 50th (23:35). Zatha Loewen of Topsail won the race (19:23).
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