Tuesday, 24 November 2020 15:16

Raiders XC faces tough course, finishes third at Pinecrest

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Senior Will Thompson runs during Richmond's meet at the Elks Lodge on Monday. Senior Will Thompson runs during Richmond's meet at the Elks Lodge on Monday. Deon Cranford — The Richmond Observer.

SOUTHERN PINES — Will Thompson has been running cross country for Richmond Senior High School for four years. And one of his and the team’s biggest challenges surfaced during Monday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference meet.

The Raider cross country team returned to the course for its second meet of the season, running a 3.2-mile race at the Elks Lodge. Hosted by reigning SAC champion Pinecrest High School, the course proved to be a difficult one.

Richmond would take third place out of the three teams running, using its top five runners to accumulate a final score of 75 points. 

Pinecrest swept the top seven spots, and took the lowest possible score of 15 points. Evan Finney was the day’s leading runner with a time of 19:34. Lumberton High School finished second with a team score of 54 points.

“In four years of running cross country, this was the hardest course that we’ve run,” Thompson explained. “The whole team always dreads running the Elks Course. There are so many hills, which tends to slow people down.”

For the second meet in a row, senior Carson Jordan was the first Raider to cross the finish line with a mark of 22:08. That was 1:44 slower than his race time at Scotland last week, but the times were up across the board for all of Richmond’s runners.

Senior Bryan Morales and Thompson finished in 13th and 14th place, respectively. Morales clocked in at 22:57 and Thompson was on his heels at 23:00. The duo was roughly 30 seconds behind Lumberton’s Matthew Foil (12th, 22:32).

The final two Raiders to qualify for the team score were Kevin Dominguez (18th, 25:28) and Cain Hunsucker (19th, 25:37). 

Also running for Richmond on Monday were sophomore Naaman Perakis and freshman Samuel Hawks, who placed 20th and 21st. Perakis finished with a time of 25:53 and Hawks concluded his first varsity race in 25:59.

“The boys’ run was tough today,” head coach Jessica Covington said. “The course has changed a lot from the previous season and the hills incorporated were really brutal.

“They call the hill ‘the cake,’ which had an increase, then a dip and then another increased incline,” she added. 

Covington noted that all of her runners did a great job, but there was an increase of approximately two minutes to each runner due to the treacherous course. 

“I’m still very proud of their effort and we are continuing to work on lowering our time and building endurance,” Covington said.

Thompson, like many of the runners, looked at Monday’s race as a learning opportunity.

“The hills make for perfect conditioning practice,” Thompson said of the tough course. “Hopefully next week we can get our times back down.”

The Richmond boys and girls cross country teams will return to action after the holiday break on Nov. 30. It will be the Raiders’ lone home meet of the season at Hinson Lake in Rockingham, which will feature Jack Britt, Lumberton and Purnell Swett high schools.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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