First Posted: 10/31/2009
Two Mount Airy runners, two exciting races, two state qualifiers.
The Granite Bears cross country team placed two runners, Matus Kriska and Sarina Russo, in the state championship race. Both runners needed to find an extra gear down the stretch in their respective races during Saturdays regional meet.
Kriska, who has won several races this year, took the boys championship in 17 minutes, four seconds despite falling down three times on the wet course. He held a lead early, but the slip-ups led to Kriska losing his lead with 200 yards before the finish line. With 75 yards to go, Kriska found his footing and raced past South Stanlys Sean Kluttz to win the race by a second.
Mount Airy coach Andrew Howard said Kriska was not injured during any of the falls and will be ready to run again.
Hes fine, Howard said. He just looked like he had been rolling in the mud by the end of the race.
Russos race was equally nerve-racking. The freshman earned the final spot in the state meet by outrunning Jordan Amos of North Stokes with 20 yards left. Russo ran the course in 22:55, the same time as Amos.
If she didnt pass her at the end, she wouldnt have got in, Howard said. It was pretty nerve-racking hearing the results and wondering if she was going to get in or not.
Shes had an up-and-down year, but she finally put it together at a big race.
Jordan Hiatt of Mount Airy took 22nd in the girls race, finishing in 23:12. In boys, Glenn Lynch (19:25), Bryce Pilcher (19:44), Ryan Johnson (20:56), T.J. Maxwell (22:37) and Cory Scott (23:02) also competed.
While Howard was pleased for Russo to make the state meet, he expects bigger things from Kriska, who he said has registered the fastest 1A time this season. That is as long as he stays on his feet, of course.
If he can put it all together and not fall down, anything can happen, Howard said.