Pinecrest's Cunningham Wins 1,000 Meter at Winter Track Championship
When Pinecrest’s Jennie Cunningham and Maura McDonnell, of Green Hope, crossed the finish line in one of the races at Saturday’s NCHSAA 4A State Winter Track Championships, they gave each other bewildered looks.
“Both of us were like, ‘who won?’” Cunningham said before Monday’s first official day of practice for the outdoor track season. “That’s how close it was.”
In the meet held at Reid Ross Classical School in Fayetteville, Cunningham, a sophomore, earned a state title by finishing the 1,000 meter run in 3:02.98 — five one hundreds of a second before McDonnell.
Fellow Patriot sophomore Hannah Hensley also had a good day finishing third in the long jump, and fourth in both the 55 meter hurdles and high jump.
Normally billed as the NCHSAA State Indoor Championships, the name was changed this year because the state’s only indoor facility on the UNC campus was involved in construction and unavailable.
Cunningham came in third at last May’s NCHSAA state outdoor championships in a Pinecrest school record time of 2:15.30. Two weeks ago, McDonnell came in third, and Cunningham was seventh, in the event at the Virginia Tech High School Invitational.
“I knew if things worked out the way they should, I could win,” she said. “I was in a perfect position, I thought, for the entire race.”
Cunningham stayed close to the leaders, shielding herself from the brunt of the wind on a blustery day.
“With about 100 (meters) left, I was ready to go and Maura just kept coming with me,” she said. “It turned out to be an incredible, insane run down the straight-away. It was all about the lean that got me that win.”
The pair learned the outcome for certain a few minutes later at the award stand.
The Pinecrest girls finished fifth behind team champion Wakefield, Green Hope, Watauga and T.C. Roberson. Knightdale was the boys’ team champion.
Other Pinecrest athletes finishing in the top 10 of their events were sophomore Kelsey Rea, ninth in the girls’ 500 meter run, and senior Connor Kelly, 10th in the boys’ 3,200.
UP’s Walden Wins
High Jump Crown
Union Pines Viking Spencer Walden won a state title in the high jump Saturday at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1-3A Winter Track and Field Championships.
Walden’s winning total was six feet, four inches at the event hosted by Reid Ross Classical School.
A junior for the Vikes, Ross entered the meet fresh off a dominating Cape Fear Valley conference championship performance that earned him the league male athlete of the year award.
Senior Tashi Whitney finished fourth in the girls’ high jump, with a leap of five feet even.
Whitney is also a starting guard for the Union Pines Lady Viking basketball team, which is looking to make a title bid at this year’s CFVC hoop tournament with first round action starting Monday.
For an interview with Walden, see Friday’s edition of The Pilot.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at email@example.com.
More like this story