The 3A girls cross country championship will be tightly contested among county teams, but the boys aren’t out of the running for their own title.
Last season, Weddington and Marvin Ridge finished second and third in the state, respectively, and Cuthbertson placed 10th.
Those three schools could easily all be back in the top 10 in this year’s meet, with Weddington likely the favorites to represent the county on the podium.
But don’t count out Marvin Ridge or Cuthbertson just yet.
The Cavs are led by senior Andrew Kiss, who finished 16th in the state a season ago with a time of 16 minutes, 33 seconds. This year, he’s already run a new personal-best time of 16:08, which ranks 44th in the state and would have been good enough for fifth place at last year’s 3A championship.
“The biggest difference for me is definitely my mindset because I’m a lot more focused this year and a lot more driven than I’ve been in previous seasons,” Kiss said. “I have focused on quality miles over quantity miles. I think this year we’ve planned our workouts and made it very strategic as we get closer to the bigger meets where we want to be running our best.”
The Cavs boast two other runners who are within the state’s top 250 times and who will help them try to improve on their 10th-place finish from last season.
Sophomore Davis Seik owns the 93rd fastest time in the state (16:26) and junior Walker Lezotte ran a personal best 17:05 last month. Both will be key to the Cavs chances when NCHSAA regionals begin Oct. 28.
Zink, too, is focused on closing his career in style as he looks to crack the top five at the state meet and break the 16-minute barrier.
“I’m happy with where I am, but I’m going to do as much as I can to make my routine perfect and make sure I’m getting everything from sleep, hydration and health to make sure I do the best that I can,” he said. “I want to go out strong.”