Next Level: Local Harriers Excel
Andy Wacker has enjoyed a breakout season as a member of the University of Colorado cross country team. The junior evolutionary biology and integrative physiology major has also been recognized for his academic standing and off-the-field activities.
The former Pinecrest cross country and track standout finished fifth at the recent Big 12 Championship held in Stillwater, Okla. He completed the 8K course in 24:15 as the Buffaloes finished second overall to Oklahoma State. He was the first to finish for the Buffs, currently the ninth-ranked team in the country.
As a result of his performance, Wacker became an All-Big 12 runner for the second time. He has also earned all-conference academic honors for the third time.
The son of Charles and Karin Wacker, of Pinehurst, was recently named to the Fall Chick-Fil-A Community of Champions team, recognized by the Big 12 Conference. Each Big 12 institution has one student athlete named to the team based on a grade-point average of 3.00 or higher, being involved in a community service project and demonstrating leadership and sportsmanship on and off the field.
Over the last few years at Colorado, Wacker has been involved with the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as the community service chair and vice president. Some of the events he has been involved in include: Read with the Buffs, Buffalo Hugs, Healthy Kids Day, Trick-or-Treat Street, the Holiday Angel Tree and organizing shoe and athletic equipment donations to charities.
A number of other local runners have performed well for their college teams at conference championship cross country meets.
UNC Pembroke senior Bonnie MacDonald (Union Pines) made the All-Conference first team after finishing sixth at Saturday’s Peach Belt Conference Championships in Evans, Ga. She was the top finisher on her team that came in third. Next for the former Viking is the Div. II Southeast Region Championship at McAlpine Park in Charlotte on Nov. 20.
Methodist junior Katie Ballard (Pinecrest) earned second team all-league honors for her performance at the Conference USA South Cross Country Championships held at Hagan Stone Park in Greensboro. She was second on her team, and finished 18th overall as the Monarchs came in fourth in the meet won by Shenandoah.
Hannah Thomas (North Moore), a senior at Catawba, finished third on her team and 34th overall at the South Atlantic Conference Cross County Championships held at Wingate. Anderson won the meet and Catawba came in sixth.
In women’s soccer, Courtney Sauer (Union Pines) finished a four-year career at Salem College in a 1-0 Greater South athletic Conference Tournament loss to Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga.
The school joined the NCAA in Div. III in 2006. Sauer helped the Spirits compile a record of 49-19-3 in the four year period. In the short NCAA history, the midfielder’s total of 10 goals ranks eighth on the school’s career list and her eight assists put her in the fifth spot. She is tied for first at 71 for the most matches played in.
Also in women’s soccer, N.C. State striker Tanya Cain (Pinecrest) has been named an ESPN Academic All-District Women’s Soccer First Team selection. The junior carries a 3.97 GPA. She was third on the team in scoring with four goals and four assists this season.
And how about a little college baseball? UNC Pembroke centerfielder Josh Haley (Pinecrest) went 4-for-5 with a triple in the second game of the Braves’ intra-squad Black and Gold Fall World Series. The junior batted .354 for the Braves last season.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at email@example.com.
More like this story