KERNERNSVILLE — Mount Airy’s Kirsten Parries was named Northwest Conference runner of the year after taking her third-consecutive cross country title.
The league championship was held this week at Beeson Park, the home course for Bishop McGuinness.
Bear Coach Andrew Howard said every one of his runners, boys and girls, posted their best times of the season.
Parries was 15 seconds ahead of Bishop’s Carly Kreber. The two finished third and fourth in the state respectively last year.
Parries won the state title as a sophomore and is looking to challenge for a second ring.
In addition to Kreber, Parries will face stiff competition from the two girls who beat her last November.
Lincoln Charter’s Sophia Bhalla won the state championship last year, and Franklin Academy’s Hannah Zenker was second.
Bhalla started off with a fast pace in that race, and Parries said she made the mistake of taking off after her instead of sticking to her standard pace. By the end of the race, Parries was exhausted and didn’t have anything left for the final kick.
Howard said he has mixed up Parries’ training regimen this year in the hopes of helping her best these runners.
However, he admitted that all of these girls likely will be fighting it out for second place.
There is a runner who didn’t compete last year because she was training for a triathlon, Howard said.
Malia Ellington, Community School of Davidson, beat Parries for state gold in the 3,200 meters last June and has posted the best times all fall.
While Parries’ best time is 18:55, Ellington has a personal best of 18:26 and has hit the 18:40s more than once.
As for the rest of the Bears, Howard had four girls in the top 30, and one came up three spots shy of making the Northwest All-Conference Team.
The league simply honors the top 10 finishers at the conference meet as the all-conference team, so that was a goal set by Halee Ratcliff, according to Howard.
Ratcliff has never run a mile in less than seven minutes in the 3.1-mile event, but she went out hard and made the first mile in 6:30, he noted.
She gave it her all, but ran out of gas at the end. She fell out of the top 10 and ended up 13th, but she still finished in less than 23 minutes.
Soccer standout Marissa Petri finished 27th, and teammate Sara Pequeno was 30th.
In the boys’ race, a former Bear finished fifth. Peter Balogh transferred to Bishop McGuinness last year and had to sit out a season under transfer guidelines. He has been one of the top runners in the Northwest all season.
As for his current athletes, Howard said not only did the six guys run a season-best time, but five of them set new personal bests.
Joseph Dixon was 17th and Dalton Mayes 18th as the Bears had two runners in the top 20. Matthew Eads just missed that with a 22nd-place finish. Tennis standout Justin Leonard was 30th, Jack McCluskey 37th and Jake Holmes 42nd.
Bishop and North Stokes were the only two teams with enough runners to qualify for the team competition. The Lady Villains beat the Lady Vikings for first.
The Villains also won the boys’ team competition. Then Bishop Coach Robert Youtz received two awards for both boys’ and girls’ coach of the year.
Girls’ Top 20
1 Parries, Kirsten Mount Airy 19:03.87
2 Kreber, Carly Bishop McGuinness 19:19.02
3 Seach, Bailey Bishop McGuinness 19:59.02
4 McDonough, Claire Bishop McGuinness 20:26.58
5 Weidman, Lexi Bishop McGuinness 20:53.92
6 Ott, Alexandra Walkertown 20:58.37
7 Johnson, Sarah Grace Bishop McGuinness 21:00.68
8 Craven, Sarah Ann Bishop McGuinness 21:23.52
9 McBride, Hannah North Stokes 21:37.40
10 Garner, Molly Bishop McGuinness 21:57.27
11 Kreber, Cassidy Bishop McGuinness 22:11.68
12 Dudley, Christine Bishop McGuinness 22:19.90
13 Ratcliff, Halee Mount Airy 22:53.65
14 Wright, Patience North Stokes 23:36.24
15 Forish, Olivia Bishop McGuinness 24:05.74
16 Joyce, Haley North Stokes 24:17.34
17 Komsa, Katharine Bishop McGuinness 24:22.37
18 Sims, Gabrielle Atkins 25:31.81
19 Frye, Emma North Stokes 25:55.81
20 Brown, Shalynn North Stokes 26:29.17
27 Petri, Marissa Mount Airy 29:37.18
30 Pequeno, Sara Mount Airy 30:58.68
Boys’ Top 20
1 Brannan, Jack Bishop McGuinness 17:00.47
2 Soltis, Bryan Bishop McGuinness 17:21.72
3 Hammonds, James North Stokes 17:31.07
4 Rogers, Matthew Walkertown 17:38.79
5 Balogh, Peter Bishop McGuinness 17:41.47
6 Parmesano, Daniel Walkertown 17:42.93
7 Kenard, Justin North Stokes 17:50.16
8 Johnson, William Bishop McGuinness 17:53.00
9 Jones, Zack Bishop McGuinness 17:54.41
10 Durham, Dawson North Stokes 18:10.73
11 Debrecht, Scott Bishop McGuinness 18:23.18
12 Young, Dakota North Stokes 18:34.16
13 Wampler, Josh Walkertown 19:04.53
14 Cook, Corey Walkertown 19:05.09
15 Carmichael, Caleb Bishop McGuinness 19:05.84
16 Still, Justin Walkertown 19:08.85
17 Dixon, Joseph Mount Airy 19:10.50
18 Mayes, Dalton Mount Airy 19:18.96
19 Jamison, Donwill Walkertown 19:19.31
20 Hall, Chris Atkins 19:19.63
22 Eads, Matthew Mount Airy 19:27.10
30 Leonard, Justin Mount Airy 20:12.32
37 McCluskey, Jack Mount Airy 20:38.22
42 Holmes, Jake Mount Airy 21:45.41
Boys’ Team Results
1 Bishop McGuinness, Average: 17:34.22
2 Walkertown, Average: 18:32.04
3 North Stokes, Average: 18:22.27
4 Mount Airy, Average: 19:45.42
5 Atkins, Average: 19:38.58