09/17/09 — Britt, Dougherty shine at conference meet

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Britt, Dougherty shine at conference meet

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 17, 2009 2:04 PM

Nick Britt ran a steady race.

Hattie Dougherty preferred to be the rabbit.

And each competitor enjoyed a successful run in the season-opening, Class 1-A Carolina Conference cross country meet on an overcast, humid Wednesday afternoon at Rosewood High School.

Hearing cheers from the football team and listening to his dad call him a 'machine,' Britt ran the 3.1-mile (5K) course in 18 minutes, 50.6 seconds. The sophomore crossed the finish line a mere five-tenths of a second behind meet winner W.A. Myatt of Cape Fear Christian.

"(Myatt) was very strong and we were close for awhile," said Britt. "He got ahead of me towards the end of the race. I started kicking, but it was very hard (to catch him). I did beat my goal and proud of the work that I did."

Goldsboro junior Bryan Johnson placed third in 19:39, followed by Princeton's Will Toler in 20:06. Cape Fear's Chad Turlington (20:15) rounded out the top five.

Spring Creek's John Kearney (20:21) and Corey Howell (20:37) ended up sixth and seventh, respectively. Caleb Day emerged North Duplin's top performer with a ninth-place effort of 21:04.

Princeton won the five-team meet with 43 points.

"The boys did well," said Dawgs coach Marty Gurganus.

The Gators, the defending Carolina Conference champions, logged 54 points. Newcomer Goldsboro claimed third-place honors with 71 points, followed by North Duplin (91) and Rosewood (96).

"I'm happy," said Goldsboro coach Maxine Carr. "This is our second meet and although our kids are inexperienced runners, I'm proud of them ... they did really well. We're going to work on our speed and our endurance some more."

Dougherty, Spring Creek's Savannah Egleston and Rosewood's Jennifer Page emerged the front runners during the girls' portion of the meet. Dougherty slowly pulled away on the wet, flat course that featured few turns and few inclines.

The lone holdover from last year's regional runner-up squad, Dougherty crossed the finish line in 24:13. Egleston claimed second in 24:46 with Page taking third in 25:42.

"Hattie is our leader," said Gurganus. "She likes to set the pace, be out front because she feels like she can maintain that pace the whole time. She works hard in practice every day and runs with the boys.

"Today, she did what I needed her to do for our team."

Princeton fielded the lone team on the afternoon.

Holly Heath claimed fifth in 27:20 for Rosewood, which had two runners absent for the meet. Goldsboro's Mikayla Huff was sixth in 27:25 and Melissa Summerlin was North Duplin's top runner with a 12th-place time of 31:56.

Rosewood head coach Lindsey Barwick and assistant coach Chris Woofter hope to field a full girls' team for next week's conference meet at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

"They definitely improved," said Woofter. "We only have two veterans between the two teams. We couldn't have asked for better individual efforts, but (we) want to continue improving on individual workouts and making the team scores better."