Bennett, Price emerged Wayne County XC champions
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 20, 2006 2:13 PM
Historic Waynesborough Park served as the perfect battleground for the sixth installment of the Wayne County Cross Country Championships contested Thursday afternoon.
While the individual races offered little drama, one overall team chase ended in strange fashion. Several Charles B. Aycock runners took a wrong turn, which resulted in disqualification and changed the individual results in the girls' portion of the race.
Eastern Wayne seized the team title for the first time since 2002 with 31 points. Individual meet winner Jennifer Price paced Wayne Christian to runner-up honors with 50 points. Aycock ended up a close third with 54 points.
"I don't think I ran my best," said Price, who posted a time of 24 minutes, 16 seconds. "It was a hard course and it felt long. I think I slowed down a little bit after the first mile."
Southern Wayne's Allen Bennett emerged victorious on the boys' side and helped the Saints dethrone five-time defending champion Eastern Wayne. The Saints placed four runners among the top 15 and amassed 36 points, compared to 48 for the Warriors.
"I wanted to stay ahead of everybody as best I could," said a grinning Bennett, who carried the team trophy to the bus. "This is for bragging rights."
Nik Fredrick finished runner-up to Bennett and paced the Golden Falcons to a third-place showing with 50 points. Wayne Christian, led by Doug Johnson's fifth-place performance, amassed 89 points.
The 3.1-mile course challenged runners with its inclines and twisting turns. One runner experienced a close encounter with a deer on his second tour through the course. Tuesday's day-long rain also left muddy areas, and mosquitoes feasted on the runners and parents in attendance.
The coaches hoped the overcast skies and hazy conditions would remain intact for the race. However, the sun partially appeared before the starting gun sounded and the runners competed in humid, muggy temperatures.
"It was hard and hot," said Bennett.
Bennett immediately set the pace at the beginning. He led the runners around the first turn and through the trees, and exited the trees with a sizable lead over Fredrick. The Warriors' Chris Tesar and Steven Henrick followed Fredrick into the open part of the course.
"I knew I had two Eastern Wayne guys and one Aycock guy (to beat)," said Bennett, who finished the race 19:04. "I got a good head start and slowed the pace down a little bit, but at the end I burned (energy) all the way through."
Fredrick admitted a grueling race two days ago against Wilson Hunt might have zapped some of his energy. He eventually crossed the line 30 seconds behind Bennett.
"I think I ran a little too hard against Hunt," said Fredrick, who had a time of 19:34. "I guess I didn't prepare myself as well as I could have for today. (Bennett) is a really strong runner and he's a got really good kick.
"He started off way ahead and I thought he would slow down."
Tesar (20:19) and Henrick (20:31) took third and fourth, respectively. Johnson was next at 20:41. The Saints' Tay Wilder and Chase Gardner registered fifth- and sixth-place times, respectively. Aycock's Daniel Pennington placed seventh overall.
Price said she wasn't used to running hilly and winding courses. The Eagles participate in the Class 1-A Carolina Christian Conference and most of those meets are held on flat courses.
Goldsboro's Danielle Irby captured runner-up honors in 24:58. Eastern Wayne grabbed the next four spots. Kelly Gregorcyk (25:04) took third, followed by Sarah Ricker (25:58), Natalie Taylor (26:01) and Sarah Schley (26:09).
Megan Hales turned in Aycock's fastest time of 26:13, which was good enough for seventh place. Wayne Christian's Charity Wright and Martha Summerlin were eighth and ninth, respectively.
The Golden Falcons' Jordan Stackle rounded out the top 10.
More than 60 runners competed in honor of Bill Kemp, who organized the event which brings the county teams together for a season-ending meet. A former state champion wrestler at Goldsboro High and long-time business man in the town, Kemp has been under the weather recently.
Southern Wayne 36
Eastern Wayne 48
C.B. Aycock 50
Wayne Christian 89
1. Allen Bennett, SW 19:04
2. Nik Fredrick, CBA 19:34
3. Chris Tesar, EW 20:19
4. Steven Henrick, EW 20:31
5. Doug Johnson, WC 20:41
6. Tay Wilder, SW 20:42
7. Chase Gardner, SW 20:59
8. Daniel Pennington, CBA 21:10
9. Dean Graddy, SW 21:16
10. Tyler Thornton, EW 21:26
11. Eric Dubose, CBA 21:27
12. Dustin Rhodes, EW 21:43
13. Jordan Hood, SW 22:04
14. Travis Reaves, CBA 22:13
15. Jackson Wooten, CBA 22:40
Eastern Wayne 31
Wayne Christian 50
C.B. Aycock 54
1. Jennifer Price, WC 24:16
2. Danielle Irby, GHS 24:58
3. Kelly Gregorcyk, EW 25:04
4. Sarah Ricker, EW 25:58
5. Natalie Taylor, EW 26:01
6. Sarah Schley, EW 26:09
7. Megan Hales, CBA 26:13
8. Charity Wright, WC 27:35
9. Martha Summerlin, WC 28:23
10. Jordan Stackle, CBA 28:39
11. Jasmine Dobbins, CBA 29:32
12. Taylor Allen, CBA 29:35
13. Ashley Daly, EW 29:38
14. Caroline Schlaeppi, CBA 30:04
15. Shelle Anderson, WC 31:15
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