SANFORD — The Richmond Senior High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams may have been outnumbered on Tuesday, but that didn’t ruin their spirits.
Competing in their second 3.2-mile race of the season, the Raiders and Lady Raiders ran at Lee County High School.
While comparable in size to Lee County’s squads, both rosters were heavily outnumbered by Pinecrest High School in the Sandhills Athletic Conference competition.
After winning their meet last week, the Lady Raiders took second with 43 points across their top-five runners. The Raiders, who earned 67 points, placed third.
Both of Pinecrest’s teams won the race. The boys’ team had 15 points while the girls’ team had 16 points.
Lee County’s boys’ team took second with 58 points and the Lady Yellow Jackets didn’t have the minimum of five runners to qualify for team points.
With so many runners for Pinecrest, Richmond’s runners may have finished lower in the standings but earned higher points. Only the top seven runners for each team can contend for points.
“Despite the massive number of runners from Pinecrest, we felt both of our teams did extremely well,” said co-head coach Ashleigh Buie. “Almost all of them improved their times this week and have set goals to beat for our next meet in Scotland County.
“Zaviar Lowry and Mariana Mendez are still leading each of our teams as standout runners,” she added. “In a sea of forest green they were the lone Raider runners coming across the finish line with the Patriots.”
Lady Raiders finish second, Mendez in top five
Of the 12 Lady Raiders running on Tuesday, nine of them clocked in with faster times. Of those nine, four set new personal records.
The top five runners for Richmond to earn points were Mendez (5th place), sophomore Samantha Barnes (8th place), junior Ella Munn (9th place), freshman Dayana Franco (9th place) and junior Alivia Munn (10th place).
Setting new PRs were Barnes (24:28), who took off 62 seconds from last week, and three other runners — senior Ashley Canas (33:38), junior Quanna Bostic (31:35) and freshman Makensey Puckett (33:42).
Mendez (22:14, -33 seconds), Munn (25:07, -49 seconds) and Webb (26:50, -33 seconds) were among those who improved their times from week one. Franco was a second behind her pace from last week (25:51).
Also bettering their race times were senior Kaleigh Cloninger (27:24) and junior Nelly Cadena (31:00), who were 37th and 48th overall. Freshman Madyson Cloninger (33:39) and Puckett (33:42), along with sophomore Ella Parker (43:39), also competed.
Pinecrest took four of the top six spots to combine for its 16 points. Winning the race was Lady Patriot Alessia Potts (19:13).
Raiders take third again, Lowry leads the way
The Raiders also saw improvement, as four new PRs were recorded and seven of the team’s nine runners clocked their fastest time in two meets.
Like the girls’ race, Pinecrest had an overflow of nonpoint qualifying runners finish. But Lowry earned his eighth-place overall mark with a PR of 19:04, a full 64 seconds faster than his previous best time.
Rounding out the Raiders’ points were sophomore Cameron Gladden (13th place), sophomore Jake Richardson (14th place), sophomore Angel Cristobal (15th place) and senior Cain Hunsucker (17th place).
Cristobal’s time of 24:35 was a new PR, taking 22 seconds off. Richardson (23:39, -3:25) and senior Toby McInnis (27:23, -25 seconds) both improved their times.
Juniors Aaron Coleman and Jaxon Chavis were the other two Raiders to notch a new PR. Coleman finished in 55th place (27:38) and took 3:04 off his run last week, while Chavis was 57th and shaved 95 seconds from his time (30:08).
Gladden’s final posting was 22:53 and sophomore Luke Gilliam ran the race in 29:05, both times slightly off pace from a week ago.
Winning the boys’ race was Pinecrest’s Connor Cuthrell (16:57), as the Patriots took the top seven spots.
“With most of our runners being multi-sport athletes, we are happy to see their progress and look forward to seeing what their increased endurance and stamina will bring to their respective sports in the upcoming seasons,” Buie said.
The third meet of the season will be held next Tuesday at Scotland High School. Hoke County and Lee County will also run, beginning at 5 p.m.