Home Local Sports SEASON PREVIEW: Richmond XC teams open season on Thursday

SEASON PREVIEW: Richmond XC teams open season on Thursday

Members of the Richmond cross country teams participate in a 3.2 mile run at a practice earlier this month. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — For the third time in three seasons, the Richmond Senior High School cross country teams will be led by two new coaches.

Ashleigh Buie and Morgan Tedder are joining forces to coach this fall, both of whom bring either coaching or running experience.

A long-time coach within Richmond County, this will be Buie’s first go at coaching cross country. Tedder, on the other hand, ran cross country at St. Andrews University following her graduation from Richmond.

The Raiders and Lady Raiders have been conditioning and practicing since the middle of July, with practices intensifying the last couple of weeks. Richmond will open its seven-meet regular season on Thursday.

This season, the Lady Raiders will be without three-year veteran Maylyn Wallace, an All-Sandhills Athletic Conference runner who graduated and now runs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

But Wallace’s experience and expertise will carry on through several returning runners for both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Depth will be key for both squads Buie and Tedder said.

The Lady Raiders will feature four returners from last season — junior Kaleigh Cloninger, and sophomores Mariana Mendez, Ella Munn and Alivia Webb. 

All four competed in races last year and helped the girls’ team finish fourth at the Sandhills Athletic Conference championship.

Senior Sheccid Heaton also returns to the course after taking a season off, and other newcomers include senior Jennifer Gomez, sophomore Nelly Cadena, and freshmen Presley Dawkins, Ella Gibson and Ella Parker.

Dawkins, who is a member of the Mangum Track Club, is an experienced runner who was named Rockingham Middle School’s cross country MVP last season.

The Raider cross country team boasts a larger roster this fall, hoping to have enough runners to qualify for the SAC championship. 

Seniors Christian Sanchez and Kodie Simmons, along with juniors Cane Hunsucker and Toby McInnis, are four strong runners who return to the lineup. Hunsucker, Sanchez and Simmons all raced in the conference championship last year.


Adding to the team’s depth are senior Naaman Perakis, junior foreign exchange student Gabriel Alves, and freshmen D.J. Gainey and Jake Richardson, who was Ellerbe Middle School’s male student-athlete of the year as an eighth grader.

Both Richmond cross country teams will open their season Thursday at Union Pines High School, beginning at 5 p.m.

Below is the complete 2022 schedule for the Richmond boys’ and girls’ cross country teams. All meets are against SAC opponents and home meets are bold. 

Sept. 1 @ Union Pines, Lee County

Sept. 6 vs. Hoke County, Southern Lee

Sept. 13 @ Southern Lee, Hoke County, Lee County

Sept. 20 @ Lee County, Scotland

Sept. 27 @ Southern Lee, Pinecrest

Oct. 4 vs. Scotland, Union Pines

Oct. 11 @ Pinecrest, Hoke

Oct. 18 SAC Conference Championship

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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.