Home Local Sports Lady Raiders achieve team goal, prepare for 4A Mideast regionals

Lady Raiders achieve team goal, prepare for 4A Mideast regionals

ROSPorts File Photo: The Lady Raider cross country team, pictured here during a home race earlier this season, qualified for the 4A Mideast regionals.
Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

SOUTHERN PINES — At the start of the cross country season in November, the Lady Raiders’ goal was to qualify as a team for the NCHSAA Mideast regional meet.

Behind a strong effort in Wednesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference Championship, Richmond Senior High School’s girls’ team accomplished that goal, while also taking a third-place finish.

Running the 3.2-mile race at the Elks Lodge course for the third time in six races, Richmond tallied 65 points, just 17 points behind second-place Scotland High School. 

Pinecrest High School swept the competition, winning both the boys’ and girls’ conference title. The Lady Patriots finished with 21 points, while the Patriots ended with a score of 18 points.

The Richmond boys’ team, which also competed against the six other SAC schools, placed sixth overall (160 points) and did not qualify for the postseason.

Like she has all season, junior Maylyn Wallace paced the Lady Raiders and crossed the finish line in ninth place, earning seven points for Richmond. Her time of 23:35 was her second best time on the Elks Lodge course, and she was just six seconds behind Pinecrest’s Madeline Tyson.

“The team had been working very hard to stay in shape,” Wallace said. “For me personally, I focused a lot on keeping up with the girl in front of me and then passing her.

“It feels good and I am proud because of how hard I have been working,” she added of her placement. “I wanted to get better than I was last year and I plan to keep improving.”

Also following a common theme this season were the rest of the Lady Raiders, who all crossed the finish line in the top 23 spots. Sophomore Rylie Bohman (26:13), freshman Kaleigh Cloninger (26:16), freshman Gabby Lutz (26:29) and sophomore Sheccid Heaton (26:52) took 17th through 20th place, respectively.

Senior Alena Craddock rounded out the qualifying performance with a 23rd-place finish, crossing the finish line in 27:44. Cloninger (3:26) and Lutz (2:55) both took several minutes off their personal best time on the course.


As part of finishing in the top fleet of runners, Wallace was also named to the SAC All-Conference team, the first time she’s earned the recognition.

“I’m excited about qualifying for regionals with the girls,” head coach Jessica Covington said. “Most of them had improved times, which showed their dedication to running during the break.”  

In the boys’ race, senior Carson Jordan completed his final race with a time of 20:44, good enough for 16th overall. It was also his fastest time on the rigorous course this season.

Fellow senior Will Thompson also closed the door on his running career with a 31st-place mark, ending with a time of 23:30. 

Rounding out the top five runners for the Raiders were freshmen Cain Hunsucker (24:31) and Samuel Hawks (24:55) and sophomore Luke McCormick (25:08), who finished 36th, 38th and 39th, respectively.

“I am so impressed with both teams’ progress through the season,” Covington said. “I knew we were in a building year with the men. They have all improved their times which made us walk away with our heads held high.  

“Our seniors will be missed greatly next year, and Carson and Will did great in their last race.”

Now the Lady Raiders will continue to prepare for the 4A Mideast regional, which is set for Saturday, Jan. 16. This year’s race will be held at the Wakemed Soccer Park in Cary. 

“I have never been more proud of our team. We have worked so hard for this one race and it paid off,” Wallace said. “We are going to continue to run throughout the weeks leading up to the race. The goal is to go do our best and have fun.”

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Kyle Pillar is a 22-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on X @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.