Home Local Sports Lady Raiders win 3rd straight meet, Raiders take 2nd

Lady Raiders win 3rd straight meet, Raiders take 2nd

Four Lady Raiders, led by senior Sheccid Heaton (left) compete during Tuesday's win. (Contributed by Tammy McInnis)

SANFORD — The winning streak continued for the Richmond Senior High School girls’ cross country team on Tuesday.

Running in its fourth Sandhills Athletic Conference meet of the season, the Lady Raiders won their third consecutive competition.

Facing runners from host Lee County, rival Scotland and non-conference Ascend Leadership Academy, the Lady Raiders placed five runners in the top 10 spots. Collecting 26 points secured the win.

Of the three other girls’ teams competing, none of them had the required number of five racers to qualify for team points.

The Richmond boys’ team also took to the 3.2-mile course at Lee County, taking second place with 51 points behind Ascend (37 points). The Raiders edged the Yellow Jackets by one point.

Lady Raiders dominate field

A total of three Lady Raiders recorded personal record times on Tuesday, but it was sophomore Mariana Mendez who led the team once again. Her second-place finish of 23:28 was just six seconds behind race winner Carson Buie (23:22, Scotland).

Fellow sophomore Ella Munn collected a fourth-place finish, crossing the finish line in 25:17. Senior teammate Sheccid Heaton was the first of the trio of Lady Raiders to secure her best personal time, earning a fifth-place mark of 25:24, a total of 33 seconds faster than last week’s race.

Right behind Heaton was junior Kaleigh Cloninger in sixth place, taking in a time of 28:09. 

Freshman Presley Dawkins also notched a new PR, returning after missing last week’s race. She clocked in a 29:52, rounding out Richmond’s top five runners for points, 2:02 faster than her previous best.

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Four other Lady Raiders ran in the field of 18 runners, with senior Jenifer Gomez taking 11th place (30:18). She was followed by sophomore Alivia Webb (12th, 31:11), sophomore Nelly Cadena (14th, 32:00) and freshman Ella Parker, whose new PR of 41:29 put her in 17th place.

Raiders earn best finish of season

Freshmen Jake Richardson (left) and D.J. Gainey (right) near the finish line. (Contributed by Tammy McInnis)

After a series of close runs against Lee County the last two meets, the Raiders earned a second-place finish, the best placement as a team this fall.

Two Raiders secured top-10 finishes, starting with senior Christian Sanchez, who ended the day in third place with a time of 21:25. Fellow senior Kodie Simmons placed 7th overall with a mark of 22:16, just 16 seconds off his current PR.

Freshman D.J. Gainey was the third Raider to end the race, clocking in at 24:13, a new PR. That time was an impressive 31 seconds faster than his time at the Kiwanis Park last week.

The final two runners to record points for Richmond were freshman Jake Richardson (13th, 24:15) and senior Naaman Perakis (16th, 26:34). 

Juniors Cain Hunsucker (17th) and Toby McInnis (18th) rounded out the Raiders’ efforts with times of 27:08 and 27:31, respectively.

The Richmond cross country teams will return to action next Tuesday at host Southern Lee High School, with Pinecrest also running. Races will start at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

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