Hicks wins CC cross country meet
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on October 11, 2007 2:51 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- On Wednesday afternoon, cross country runners from the Class 1-A Carolina Conference were greeted by a sight they normally don't see in eastern North Carolina -- hills.
During the course walk prior to the seven-team meet at Cliff of the Neuse State Park, runners were doing plenty of moaning about the hilly and rough terrain.
At the conclusion of the meet, the complaining hadn't subsided. Some excellent performances by area runners though, did ease the fatigue.
North Duplin's Justin Hicks bested the field by a wide margin as he came in first with a time of 19 minutes, 26 seconds for the 3.1-mile course. Elizabeth Baker of North Johnston emerged the girls' top runner, crossing the line at 23:49.
Spring Creek won the boys' team portion of the meet with 30 points for its fourth victory of the season. North Duplin claimed second with 47 points, followed by Princeton with 53. Rosewood, North Johnston and Midway did not have enough runners to post a team score.
On the girls' side, Princeton edged county rival North Johnston 27-28.
Hicks' first-place performance drew plenty of praise from spectators and fellow runners. The Rebels' senior ran virtually uncontested the whole meet.
"It's a little bit harder," said Hicks of running alone. "I try to pace myself. I keep in mind a lot of things while I'm running, like trying to get a scholarship for next year."
Coming in at second place was Alex Casey from Spring Creek with a time of 20:33. Casey ran the majority of the meet side-by-side with Midway runner Jason Gholson before a late burst gave him second.
"Alex is really the team leader," said Spring Creek coach Mike Jones. "Not just in his own ability to run, but he pumps the other guys up. Everything does, he does as hard as he can. It's great to have a kid like that on your team."
Casey was happy with his performance, especially considering the overall difficulty of the course.
"This is a tough course because it isn't flat like everywhere else," he said. "You've got tons of hills and those just slow you down. Then, coming down those big hills you have to be careful to not break your ankle."
Rounding out the top five was North Duplin's Clint Bland and Princeton's Adam Peedin finished fourth and fifth respectively for the boys.
Princeton's Olivia Booker placed second with a time of 24:56 in the girls' division, while North Duplin's Rocio Alvarado took third. Booker had her best finish of the season -- despite the grueling course.
"The hills are really tough," said Booker. "I felt pretty good today. It wasn't too hot -- the shade helps. I was pretty happy with today, even though my time wasn't the best."
Following Alvarado was Midway's Alejandra Panuco and Princeton's Megan Hewett.
It was conference's final regular-season meet of the season.
Spring Creek 30
North Duplin 47
1. Justin Hicks, N. Duplin 19:26
2. Alex Casey, S. Creek 20:33
3. Jason Gholson, Midway 20:54
4. Clint Bland, ND 21:13
5. Adam Peedin, Princeton 21:30
6. Larry Pitts, Midway 21:40
7. Joe Lancaster, SC 21:42
8. Timothy Rogers, SC 21:59
9. John Kearney, SC 22:13
10. Kyle Counette, ND 22:17
North Johnston 28
1. Elizabeth Baker, NJ 23:49
2. Olivia Booker, P 24:56
3. Rocio Alvarado, ND 25:12
4. Alejandra Panuco, M 26:26
5. Maegan Hewett, P 26:48
6. Carolina Mata-Lujan, M 27:15
7. Amber Walston, NJ 27:31
8. Jessica Langley, NJ 28:00
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