Home Local Sports Lady Raiders win first SAC meet, Raiders take third

Lady Raiders win first SAC meet, Raiders take third

Junior Mariana Mendez approaches the finish line of her win at Southern Lee. (Contributed by Tami Davis McInnis)

SANFORD — There was a lot of individual and team success for the Richmond Senior High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams during last week’s first meet of the season.

Beginning their Sandhills Athletic Conference season after consecutive cancellations due to rain and heat, the Raiders and Lady Raiders ran at Southern Lee High School.

Competing against the host school, Richmond also ran the 3.2-mile race against Hoke County and Lee County high schools.

The Lady Raiders won their meet with a total of 24 points, placing all five of their qualifying runners in the top eight places. 

In a distant second was Hoke County (49 points) and both Lee and Southern Lee didn’t have enough runners to qualify.

Richmond’s boys’ team placed third overall with a final posting of 58 points. Winning the boys’ race was Hoke County (25 points), followed by Lee County (41 points). Southern Lee didn’t have enough to qualify.

“Both teams exceeded our expectations in this first meet,” co-head coach Ashleigh Buie said. “With an unfamiliar course and pouring rain, they were still able to achieve improved times and we also had several top-10 finishes.”

Lady Raiders’ Mendez wins girls’ meet

Junior Mariana Mendez set the pace for the girls’ race, taking first overall with a final time of 22:47. That was a full 2:27 Faster than second-place finisher Alondra Cardenas from Hoke County (25:14).

The top five runners from each team collected points in the race, with the object being to record the lowest score possible. The Lady Raiders’ final four runners placed fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth overall, respectively.

Competing in her first race for Richmond, sophomore Samantha Barnes took fourth with a mark of 25:30. 

She was followed by freshman Dayana Franco in fifth place (25:50), junior Ella Munn in sixth (25:56) and junior Alivia Webb in eighth (27:23).


Richmond also had several other runners participating, including senior Kaleigh Cloninger and junior Quanna Bostic, whose times were used to help offset other runners. Cloninger ran 27:48 for ninth place and Bostic made her debut with a time of 31:38 (15th place).

Rounding out the Lady Raiders’ performance were junior Nelly Cadena (31:48), freshman Madyson Cloninger (32:02), freshman Makensey Puckett (34:39) and senior Ashley Canas (34:52).

Lowry paces fastest time for Raiders

Senior Zaviar Lowry (green, second from left) finished third overall. (Contributed by Tami Davis McInnis)

A total of nine Raiders ran in the meet at Southern Lee, with two of them placing in the top 10. Senior Zaviar Lowry, who is running cross country for the first time, took third overall with a time of 20:08.

Lowry’s mark was within winning range, as he trailed Hoke County’s Jacobi Simmons (19:42) and Eli Harrelson (19:58). Sophomore Cameron Gladden, also new to the sport this year, took 10th overall (22:17).

The Raiders’ other three qualifying runners were sophomore newcomer Angel Cristobal (12th, 24:56), sophomore Jake Richardson (15th, 27:04) and senior Cain Hunsucker (18th, 27:32).

Senior Toby McInnis (19th) and sophomore Luke Gilliam (23rd) were Richmond’s final top-seven runners. McInnis clocked in at 27:48 followed by Gilliam at 27:51.

Juniors Aaron Coleman (30:42) and Jaxon Chavis (31:43) each competed in his first cross country meet.

Both of Richmond’s cross country teams will run again Tuesday at Lee County High School. Also running will be Pinecrest High School, with the first race set for 5 p.m.

Sports editor’s note: Final results from last week’s meet weren’t published until Monday.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-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.