09/11/08 — Gators top Bulldogs via tiebreaker

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Gators top Bulldogs via tiebreaker

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on September 11, 2008 1:11 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Runners from Midway High School crossed the finish line first and second, but at the end of the season-opening Class 1-A Carolina Conference boys' cross country meet on Wednesday it was Spring Creek and Princeton who were set to do battle.

The Gators and Dawgs finished with 40 points apiece. But Spring Creek took first due to having the sixth-fastest runner.

"We tell the guys that every position matters," said Spring Creek head coach Carl Whittington. "Even if you are not going to finish first, the thing that is important is beating the guy in front of you."

Drew Pierce paced the Gators' effort with a sixth-place time of 22 minutes, 8 seconds. Teammate Corey Howell finished in eighth place at 22:16 despite rainy conditions at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

"It wasn't a perfect day, but the rain wasn't too bad. This course handles water pretty well," said Whittington. "Most of the lower part of the course is sand based, so the rain just packs it down."

Rosewood's Nick Britt ended up fourth in 21:44, while North Duplin's Caleb Day claimed 11th overall in 22:32.

Princeton head coach Marty Gurganus was proud of his team's finish after Ethan Anderson (22:18) and Jason Massey (22:29) each recorded a top-10 time.

"Our boys haven't won one yet, but today we had our best meet of the season," said Gurganus. "Spring Creek got us on the tiebreaker, but our guys ran really well."

Midway's Preston Jackson finished first overall in the boys' race, out-sprinting teammate Larry Pitts in the final 50 yards. The Raiders are the lone Super Six 1-A Conference school to sponsor cross country, so they've participated in Carolina Conference meets each of the past two seasons.

The Raiders also captured the first overall place in the girls' meet when Alejandra Panuco crossed the finish line in 24:11.

Princeton runners finished second through sixth, and the Bulldogs easily captured the team competition. The Dawgs bested county archrival North Johnston 15-55.

Olivia Booker led the Bulldogs with a time of 24:53, while teammate Meagan Hewett took third place in 25:54. Jill Whitley (26:18), Brittney Rainbow (26:45) and Hattie Daugherty (27:25) rounded out the top six places.

"Our girls have done a great job this year," said Gurganus. "They are good people first, and then good runners. They work hard and encourage each other all the time."

Savannah Egleston was the top finisher from Spring Creek in a time of 28:09. Kaitlyn Conger paced Rosewood in 30:59, and Arika Maldonado led North Duplin with a time of 45:25.

Princeton gets another shot next Wednesday in the second Carolina 1-A Conference meet of the season. The race begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex.