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Comet boys take top two spots, team second in cross country / March 25, 2021

Andrew Salley ran a 14:49.94 and teammate Ethan Kirkhart followed with a 15:55.74 to claim first and second places in Piedmont District cross country action at Bassett, but it wasn’t enough as the Comets dropped the tightly contested event by three points, 23-26.

Cross country meets are usually 5Ks. Tuesday’s distance run was a 4K race.

HCHS’s James Francis ran 17:36.78 for seventh place. Trevor Riddle at 19:55.16 placed 10th.

Halifax’s Luke Redd 20:38.03, and Nathan Comer running 21:23.64 were 11th and 12th.

Coach David Riddle said though the distance was shorter than what the team normally runs, the distance still presented its own challenges for the Comet guys and girls.

“We ran a 4K today as opposed to our usual 5K, so we told the runners that we were looking for speed with the shorter race,” Riddle said. “We got that from some but others struggled a little with the different element of pacing.”

Riddle said on the guys side, the coaches were pleased to see Salley pick up his first win of the season with a very impressive race, and also to have Ethan come in second.

“He (Ethan) passed several runners near the end to gain that position,” Riddle said. “J.T. and Trevor also had solid top-10 runs for us as well.

On the girls side Halifax fell to Bassett 15-50. Lydia Wenzel was the only Comet runner to finish in the top 10, placing ninth.

“Lydia had our lone top 10 finish on the ladies side,” said Riddle. “I think the pacing threw us off a little today. We are still looking for a little more speed from this group right now.

“We just need to see that push that gets us closer to the top of the district like we have been in the past.”

Morgan Crenshaw 23:40.00, Mallory Salley 24:49.00, Jenna Hall 25:10.00, Ashley Irby 25:22.00, and Susanna Watts running 29:03.00 placed 12th through 16th to complete Comet times.

Bassett’s Piper Doughton won the event in 17:36.00. Bassett placed eight runners in the top-10.

Riddle said as the season winds down, preparing for the district meet is currently at the top of the list for the team.

“As is the case with any cross country season, we are dealing with a few injuries that we hope to have taken care of soon,” Riddle said. “We will look for a strong showing at Smith River next week, in our last regular season meet as we prepare for the District Championship on the same course the week after.”

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