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Wednesday, 11 September 2019 12:33

Lady Raiders use six top-10 finishers to win opening race; Raiders take third

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ROSports File Photo: Senior Airel Brown set the pace with a second overall finish in Tuesday's cross country meet in Lumberton. ROSports File Photo: Senior Airel Brown set the pace with a second overall finish in Tuesday's cross country meet in Lumberton. Deon Cranford — The Richmond Observer.

LUMBERTON — Richmond Senior High School head girls’ cross country coach Jessica Covington knew she inherited a strong program when she took over earlier this summer. And her Lady Raider runners proved that when they won Tuesday’s season-opening meet.

The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams from Richmond, Purnell Swett, Scotland and Seventy-First high schools convened on Luther Britt Park in Lumberton for the first Sandhills Athletic Conference and 3.2-mile race of the fall. 

Seeing its top six runners all finish in the top 10, the Lady Raiders earned the win with a total of 28 points. In the boys’ race, head coach Reggie Miller’s team took third place of the four teams, compiling a score of 65 points. 

High school conference cross country meets allow teams to run as many runners as they want, but just the top seven times are counted in the final team score.

Purnell Swett’s Kylie Chavis would take the top spot in the girls’ race, but Richmond’s senior Airel Brown would set the pace for the Lady Raiders with a second-place finish and a time of 22:40. Behind her was freshman Sheccid Heaton, who’s time of 30 minutes flat gave her a fifth-place finish.

Rounding out the top 10 in the girls’ race were four more Lady Raiders, all finishing in a 12-second span of one another. Senior Abby Calhoun was just behind Heaton, crossing the finish line in sixth place (30:12), while sophomore Maylyn Wallace trailed her senior teammate by just four seconds (seventh, 30:16).

Junior Allyson Leggett finished eighth with a time of 30:19, and freshman Rylie Bohman ended her first high school race with a 10th-place finish (30:24). Junior Zamiya McInnis capped Richmond’s seven-runner performance, finishing 15th (31:47).

“We have a very competitive group and it showed at today’s meet,” Covington said of the win. “We had a total of six girls place in the top 10, so I was extremely proud of their performance.   

“The challenges we faced on this course was that there was no shade and it was very confusing,” she added of her girls’ refusal to quit. “I feel like next week our times will improve because they will have a better understanding of the course.”

Several runners during Tuesday’s race were offset by the confusing course, perhaps seeing some runners’ times suffer.

In the boys’ race, junior Carson Jordan was the fastest finisher for the Raiders, ending his 5-K race in fifth place with a time of 20:06. Richmond’s boys were a little more spread out in their finishing, but juniors Josh Wallace and Will Thompson, and freshmen Kodie Simmons and Ethan McDonald all earned top-18 marks.

Wallace crossed the finish line in 13th place (23:06), with Thompson (14th, 23:49) and Simmons (15th, 23:51) hot on his trail. McDonald finished his debut race with a time of 30 minutes, good enough for an 18th-place finish.

Purnell Swett’s Kenny Locklear won the boys’ individual race, but it was the Fighting Scots who earned the team win, getting five top-10 finishes to seal the deal.

Both Richmond teams will be back in action next Tuesday at Luther Britt Park again, this time with Lumberton High School as the host. The Raiders and Lady Raiders will run against Lumberton, Pinecrest and Seventy-First high schools. The first race is set for 5 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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