PHS Harriers Dominate SEC Meet
Moments after becoming the boys’ 2010 Southeastern Conference cross-country champion, Connor Kelly was asked what it felt like to join the illustrious group of Pinecrest runners that previously won the event over the rugged Elks Club course.
The senior rattled off the names of the Patriot winners since the 5K layout became the school’s home course in 2004 as if they were on the tip of his tongue. They included Chase Williams, Jordan Rickard, Andy Wacker, and Brett and Craig Baggett.
“Being on that list of names is something else,” he said of the accomplishment that carries with it conference runner of the year recognition. “I don’t know how to describe it.”
Kelly won Tuesday’s race by a comfortable margin in 17:56. The Patriot boys posted a perfect score of 15 as teammates Landon Sherwood, Will Proulx, Tyler Clark and Graham Hawes grabbed the next four places. Matthew Harmody and Becket Killam made it a sweep of the first seven spots.
Not to be outdone, the Patriot girls won a conference title for a remarkable 19th year in a row. They were led by sophomore Jennie Cunningham’s second-place finish in 21:28. Teammates Mulloy Manning and Sarah Pressley were right behind her in third and fourth place in the race won by Jamicia Jones of Lumberton in 21:13. Patriot runners Alexa Zoellner and Hayden Rudd took fifth and sixth place.
Jones was one of the contenders when Cunningham won conference and regional titles in the 800-meter run last spring. She made her move to the front about midway through the second mile.
“I pretty much knew she was gone, but it was worth a shot to try to get her,” Cunningham said. “She ran a great race. I’ll see her in track.”
Jones finished 15 seconds ahead of Cunningham, who edged out Manning by one second and Pressley by two.
“They were right behind me and I knew it,” Cunningham said of her teammates. “I really didn’t think I was going to do it because I’ve been sick the last three days. It was a good team finish.”
John Buchholz, the conference coach of the year for the Patriots, was impressed with the effort by both Jones and his runners, especially seniors Zoellner, Beth Hieronymus (eighth place) and Haley Germain (10th place).
“It’s been a very good season,” he said. “Hopefully everybody will be healthy and in a good frame of mind a week from Saturday for the regional.”
Kelly went under the 18-minute mark on the course for the first time. He and Sherwood ran 1-2 for most of the race on the warm and humid afternoon.
“Everyone did exactly what they were told to do and we finished with a perfect score,” Kelly said.
Seniors Tyler Clark and George Hayes (11th place) were among the Patriot boys finishing in the top 14, qualifying them for all-conference honors. Three sophomores and two freshmen also earned that distinction from coach Jeremy Swofford’s young team. He also earned coach of the year honors.
“We’re finally overcoming some injuries we had during the middle of the season,” the coach said. “We’re starting to peak at the right time.”
The 4A East Regional will be held at Wendall Park in Wendell on Saturday, Oct. 30.
Earning medals for taking the first two places in the jayvee race were sophomore John Hasty and freshman Alex Snyder of the Patriot boys, and freshman Katie Hayes and sophomore Hana Bornhorst of the Patriot girls.
Team scores — Boys — Pinecrest 15, Purnell Swett 66, Scotland 96, Lumberton 113, Richmond 131, Hoke 139; Girls — Pinecrest 20, Scotland 70, Lumberton 85, Hoke 89, Richmond 114.
Top 14 finishers earning all-conference honors — Boys — Connor Kelly (P) 17:56, Landon Sherwood (P) 18:09; Will Proulx (P) 18:24, Tyler Clark (P) 18:28, Graham Hawes (P) 18:38, Matthew Harmody (P) 18:41, Becket Killam (P) 18:42, Randy Altman ( R) 18:51, Harley Locklear (PS) 18:54, Tyler Baker (PS)19:12, George Hayes (P) 19:25, Jacob Troutman (P) 19:27, Brandon Gibson (S) 19:32, Joseph Murray (L) 19:37; Girls — Jamicia Jones (L) 21:13, Jennie Cunningham (P) 21:28, Mulloy Manning (P) 21:29, Sarah Pressley (P) 21:30, Alexa Zoellner (P) 22:00, Hayden Rudd (P) 22:31, Kara Zoellner (P) 22:44, Beth Hieronymus (P) 23:23, Katana Lemelin (P) 23:47, Haley Germain (P) 24:06, Jenna Woronoff (P) 24:15, Callie Davis (L) 25:03, Cori Newton (S) 25:15, Amber Patrick (PS) 26:15.
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