Home Local Sports Raiders take 5th place at XC championship meet

Raiders take 5th place at XC championship meet

The Richmond boys' cross country team takes off at the start of Tuesday's SAC championship run. (Deon Cranford)

LAURINBURG — Closing out its regular season at the Sandhills Athletic Conference championship on Tuesday, the Richmond boys’ cross country team placed fifth overall.

Competing against five other schools, the Raiders collected 129 points, finishing ahead of Scotland High School.

The championship run was held at the James L. Morgan Recreation Complex, which saw runners compete in the 3.2-mile race.

Pinecrest High School earned the SAC championship, sweeping the top five spots to earn 15 points. Zack Gilbertson finished a full minute ahead of everyone else, taking the individual title with a time of 15:42.77.

Although the Raiders didn’t place as high in the standings as they wanted to, the team did end its season with six of its seven runners registering new personal record times.

After chasing a new record time all season, senior Christian Sanchez eclipsed his previous mark with a 25th place finish. Earning 22 points for the Raiders, Sanchez crossed the finish line in 20:36.58, edging his old record set during his junior year by a full 30 seconds.

Fellow senior Kodie Simmons also capped his career with an impressive run, recording his second PR in as many races. Coming in 26th place and adding 23 points to the board, Simmons clocked in at 20:58.36, a cool 53 seconds faster than last week’s race.

Next to cross the finish line were two freshmen runners who have been consistent all season. Jake Richardson (22:06.10) and D.J. Gainey (22:43.07) came in 31st and 32nd place, respectively, for a combined 55 points.

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The duo also recorded their fastest times of their young careers, seeing Richardson take a 1:39 chunk off his PR and Gainey followed by shaving 1:06 off his mark from last week’s race.

Senior Naaman Perakis and junior Toby McInnis became the final Raiders to set a new record, completing the race in 22:47.08 and 23:36.35, respectively. Perakis finished in 33rd place and tacked on Richmond’s final 29 points, and McInnis placed 35th overall.

Perakis’ time set a new PR by 1:09 and McInnis made a dent in his old record, set during his sophomore season, by 1:10.

Also running for Richmond was junior Cain Hunsucker, who placed 38th with a time of 26:40.02, his second-fastest time this fall.

The rest of the standings were Union Pines (second, 61 points), Hoke County (third, 62 points) and Lee County (4th, 126 points).

At the time of publication, it was unknown if any runners from Richmond qualified for the NCHSAA 4A East regional race. The Richmond Observer will update this article when that information is available.

Below are photos from Tuesday’s SAC championship, taken by contributor Deon Cranford.

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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.