UP’s Verchick Earns Top Honor
Union Pines freshman Abby Verchick was named the 2011 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference cross country female runner of the year at Wednesday’s league championship meet at Jordan Soccer Park in Fayetteville.
Verchick completed the regular season with wins in all seven of her team’s league races. In all but one of those seven races, she won by a wide margin.
Two weeks ago, when faced with a stern challenge from last season’s CFVC female runner of the year, in Overhills’ senior Emily Vance, Verchick blazed her way to a time of 19:12. That mark gave her a 14-second margin of victory and set a new Union Pines’ school record for lowest time ever for a female in a cross country (5K) race.
Wednesday’s league championship meet again saw Vance seriously challenge the Viking freshman.
“The battle for first place in the girls’ race was on right from the start,” said Union Pines head coach Nat Carter. “Abby led most of the way with Emily close behind.”
As the duel hit the final 440 meters, Verchick maintained her lead with Vance right on on her heels.
“There was a sprint to the finish,” continued Carter, “and Emily just edged out Abby at the finish line by only a fraction of a second. However, because of her dominance throughout the course of the season the coaches in our league unanimously voted Abby female athlete of the year.
“Abby was very disappointed with the loss because she is such a competitor. However, I do think winning this award helped ease the heart-breaking loss. This will just make her a more determined runner, always give her best and remain focused.”
Vance finished with a time of 19:51 to claim her second straight CFVC championship victory, while Verchick’s official time was clocked at 19:52 in her first loss of the season.
Led by Vance’s strong performance the Overhills girls took three of the top-five spots in the team race on their way to claiming a winning tally of 46. Western Harnett finished second with 54 points and Union Pines posted a 71 to place third.
Although Verchick was the only Union Pines girl to claim all-conference honors, her fellow Viking freshman teammate Erin Metcalf ran her best time so far this year, finishing with a 23:17.
The Union Pines’ boys entered Wednesday’s league championship meet as winners in five of their seven CFVC regular season races.
However, without freshman Ben White, their No. 2 runner, the Vikings could not muster the firepower needed to challenge Overhills for first place at the meet.
The Jaguars had four runners place in the top 10 to post a winning score of 43 and sweep the 2011 CFVC league championships.
Led by senior captain Tre’ Egerton, who placed fourth overall with a time of 18:10.75, Union Pines had three runners finish in the top 12 to tally a second-place total 56.
“We had to keep Ben out of the race because his ankle was still quite swollen,” said Carter. “Nevertheless, I was proud of the effort that our guys put forth to pull out a second-place finish. Storm Jessup posted his best time of the year with an 18.50.06.
“Also Joey Dimaio and freshman Shane Medlin brought us through big time. With Ben (running) — who knows — we might have been taking home the trophy.”
Douglas Byrd’s duo of Achraf Khadir (17:38.14) and Chase Helton (17:42.12) claimed the top-two spots in the boys’ race, respectively, with Khadir winning the 2011 CFVC male runner of the year award. However, the pair were the only two Eagles to place in the top 12, as Byrd finished third overall with a tally of 62.
Up next for Union Pines is a trip to the 3-A Mid-East Regional meet on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary.
“We are excited about regionals,” said Carter. “It will be a stretch to make it as a team, but there is always hope.”
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com
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