GREENSBORO — Surry Central’s cross country team finished sixth in a 24-team field at the Greensboro Cross Country Invitational at Hagan Stone Park.
The Golden Eagles faced a “very competitive invitational” against a lot of 3A schools, said Central Coach Jason Bryant. Central had the highest finish of any 2A school.
“Of the 12 athletes that competed, 11 ran personal bests for 5K making for a really good day,” Bryant said.
“The Hagan Stone cross country course tests more than an athlete’s fitness, it tests their ability to focus and self-motivate,” he said.
“Unlike most courses where runners pass by coaches, parents and fans regularly, at Hagan Stone the runners are all alone in the woods for a mile and half in the middle of the race,” he explained. “Many high school kids go there and lose focus, resulting in slow times often. To have so many of our athletes run that well says a lot about their character.”
Daniel Alvarez led the guys once again with a time of 17:23 and 11th place, said Bryant.
“Daniel’s time now has him ranked as the 10th-fastest freshman among all classifications in North Carolina,” he said. “All of those in front of him are at either 4A or private schools.”
Kevin Pack was second, about half a minute behind Alvarez at 17:58.
“Kevin stepped in a hole and fell down 150 yards from the finish, but after doing a roll popped back up and passed five guys,” he said.
“The improvement of our fourth through sixth guys has had a major impact on the competitiveness of the team,” he said. “Our spread from our number one to our number six was 2 minutes and 26 seconds.” Whereas in the first meet, the time difference was more than six minutes.
Elvis Vega was fourth at 19:08, Benjamin Robertson fifth at 19:45 and Tyler Fitzgerald sixth at 19:48.
Two members of the JV soccer team also run cross country.
“Ricardo Lara has been steadily improving to round out our varsity boys team with 21:29,” said Bryant. “Danny Mata … was able to get in his third meet for our cross country team. Danny was our number three in 18:18.”
Each of these young men ran their best time ever, said the proud coach.
Also, this group of runners (minus Danny Mata) took second place as a team at the Walker’s Run Invitational in Virginia a week earlier.
“Our girls team did not actually score, but my seniors Maria Trejo and Danielle Dunn cut significant time off their personal bests with Maria running 23:36 and Danielle running 24:53,” said Bryant. “They have provided great examples for the rest of the team.”
Two freshman girls who topped 32 minutes at the start of the season got under 27 minutes with Lora McDevitt running 26:22 and Taylor Jones running 26:51. Haley Payne was the Eagles’ fifth girl in 40:26.
“My kids have been putting in consistent and solid workouts throughout the season,” said the coach. “None of them complain or whine significantly, they just do the work. It is great to see that work paying off for them.
“An added bonus to coaching this group is that they train hard, but have fun doing it. Their workouts have produced plenty of sweat, tired legs and laughs. That has been rewarding and enjoyable for me.”