Monday, 30 November 2020 18:18

Thompson's PR highlights Raiders' home opener

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Seniors Bryan Morales, Carson Jordan and Will Thompson pictured during Monday's SAC meet. Seniors Bryan Morales, Carson Jordan and Will Thompson pictured during Monday's SAC meet. Deon Cranford — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Running on its home course for the first time this season, the Richmond Senior High School boys’ cross country team took third place in Monday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference meet.

Battling cooler temperatures, muddy terrain and the wind, the Raiders earned 54 points while hosting Jack Britt and Lumberton high schools. 

The Pirates used five runners in the top eight spots to earn the win with 26 points, while the Buccaneers just edged Richmond with 49 points.

“I think the guys did great, especially since the course was different,” head coach Jessica Covington said. 

“It was a tough competition against Lumberton, who has a lot of strong runners. We didn’t win, but that’s all right because we keep improving.”

For the third time in as many meets this season, the venue was changed in the days leading up to the meet. Instead of racing at Hinson Lake, the Raiders hosted the 3.2-mile race which started in Raider Stadium.

After leaving the track, runners ran around the baseball and soccer fields, then onto the softball field and football practice fields before looping through the “boneyard” behind the gym and doubling back.  

The final stretch of the course saw runners run an outside loop around Raider Stadium and finish with a 400-meter dash around the track.

Richmond had three Raiders cross the finish line in the top 10, first with senior Carson Jordan, who took seventh overall (20:56). Not far behind were fellow seniors Will Thompson in ninth place (21:46) and Bryan Morales (21:54).

For Thompson, it was a career afternoon, as he set a new personal record with his time. He passed two runners on the home stretch inside Raider Stadium to finish ninth.

“I had my best time today and I’m just working from there,” Thompson said. “I’m hoping to keep getting better and my goal is to break the 20-minute mark.

“I think the team adapted to the cold weather really well today, and by this point, we’re pretty much used to it,” he added of the elements. “Running at our home course motivated us to run a little faster than we normally do.”

Sophomore Kodie Simmons was the next Raider to finish, clocking in at 22:22 (12th place), also a personal best on the season. Kevin Dominguez was the last Raider to qualify for the team’s overall score, earning 16th place with a mark of 23:34.

Freshman Cain Hunsucker (23:38) and sophomore Naaman Perakis (24:09) also competed for Richmond, finishing 17th and 19th, respectively.

Jordan noted the course was difficult due to the wet conditions, but added that once he and his teammates warmed up, the colder weather wasn’t an issue.

“We normally run at Hinson Lake which has a lot of gravel,” Jordan said. “Today it was super muddy from the rain and it’s a bit of a confusing course. I think the team eventually ironed out the kinks, but we should do better on Wednesday.”

Covington said the Raiders’ goal partway through the season is to continue remaining competitive and focus on taking more seconds off the clock.

“I’m very pleased with Will’s performance and his new PR,” Covington shared. “He shows it in practice and he’s always pushing to get better. So do Carson, Bryan and Kevin. The whole team keeps improving and we’ll keep pushing and get ready to run again in two days.”

The Raiders will host a second meet on Wednesday, as Jack Britt and Purnell Swett High School come to Rockingham. The boys’ race will get started at 2:40 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

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

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