Cross country runners ready for regional meets
In August of 2010, Mount Airyâ€™s Kirsten Parries had to stop and rest during her first meet as a high school cross country runner.
Fast forward to October 2011, and Parries â€“ a sophomore â€“ now wears the mantle of runner of the year in the Northwest 1A/2A Conference. Sheâ€™s also one of the fastest girls in the state at the 1A level over 5K.
Parries will be among the favorites to win the 1A Midwest Region title on Saturday at Beeson Park in Kernersville. Her time from the Oct. 18 Northwest Conference championship meet of 19:27.74 is listed on NC.MileSplit.com as the fastest in the Midwest.
Parries also set a conference record Oct. 18. Teammate Jordan Hiatt, a four-year cross country runner, nearly eclipsed the old conference standard of 19:36 as well, crossing the line as the conference runner-up in 19:37.62. This is the second year in a row that Hiatt â€“ a four-time all-conference performer in cross country â€“ has been the Northwest runner-up.
Northwest and Mountain Valley runners should fare well in the 1A Midwest meet, which is being held at the same site as the upcoming Nov. 5 state championships.
Bishop McGuinness appears to be the team to beat on the girls side. The Villainsâ€™ top seven runners all have best times listed among the top 20 overall in the region. Elkin, coming off its first girls cross country conference championship in school history, will make a push to be top four. The Lady Elks are led by Madeline Carter and Madison Durham, who placed second and sixth respectively at the MVAC 1A/2A championship meet Oct. 18.
The top four teams from each region make the 1A state meet field.
Look for Krista Laplante of West Wilkes, Hannah McBride of North Stokes and Leah Rivas of South Stokes to run among the girls leaders Saturday.
In the 1A Midwest boys meet, Elkin and West Wilkes will chase heavy favorite Bishop McGuinness and battle for top four finishes. The Elks are led by MVAC runner-up Zach Millsaps, who was fifth in last yearâ€™s region meet, and Cuauthli Lozada. Daniel Jones, JJ Laplante and Colby Shell pace West Wilkes.
Will Jolly and Abram Logan ran strong for East Wilkes at the MVAC conference meet. Mount Airy freshman Peter Balogh was impressive in his first Northwest meet, placing 10th. Sean Condon of North Stokes broke 18 minutes in the conference finale, placing third overall.
In the 2A Midwest Region meets, West Stokes could make some noise on both the boys and girls sides. The Wildcats are projected to be top four in both races, according to NC.MileSplit.com
Laney Browder of Wilkes Central â€“ the MVAC girls champion â€“ has the top recorded time in the 2A Midwest. Teammate Jordyn Halvorsen also has been running strong for the Eagles.
Other individual runners to watch in the 2A Midwest meets include Erica Boles of West Stokes, Tanner Martin of Surry Central, Lee Johnson of Wilkes Central and Glenn Bailey of Ashe County.
Despite the rainy, cold weather around the region Friday, itâ€™s doubtful the meets will be postponed from Saturday.