Published: Oct 27, 2006 10:32 AM
Modified: Oct 27, 2006 10:32 AM
Green Hope runs to Tri-Eight titles
Cozzarelli wins duelThroughout the Tri-Eight Conference Girls Cross Country Championships at Bond Park on Oct. 18, Apex High junior Andie Cozzarelli ran as if she was being followed closely by the other 69 girls in the race. She was not.Cozzarelli shook off her toughest competitor, Athens Drive High senior Callan Fike, about a mile into the race and never looked back. Cozzarelli and Fike had a 25-second lead on the field at the mile mark, and by the finish of the 5,000-meter race, Cozzarelli was a full 49 seconds (18:59.0 to 19:48.41) ahead of Fike and a whopping 1:35 ahead of third-place finisher Shannon Cox of Green Hope High.Cozzarelli, who also won the conference title as a freshman, was not able to lead her team to victory, however. Green Hope placed five runners among the top 13 finishes and 10 among the top 21 to easily win its fifth consecutive conference crown with 35 points. Cary High was second with 66 points, followed by Athens Drive with 76 and Apex with 78. Fuquay-Varina High (149 points), Middle Creek High (151) and Panther Creek High (198) rounded out the team totals.Cozzarelli, 16, runner-up the last two years in the NCHSAA 4-A Cross Country Championships, clearly established herself as the favorite to win it all this year. Fike, the defending Tri-Eight and state champion who has been slowed by a stress fracture this season, said she did her best to keep up with Cozzarelli.Â“I was hoping I could be up there with her, but my legs feel heavy,Â” Fike said. Â“I donÂ’t have my kick back. So even at the end, when I can normally kick, I felt like my legs were cement. I just didnÂ’t have it.Â”Cozzarelli credited Fike for pushing the early pace. Â“Callan always does such a good job of setting the pace in the beginning and taking it out fast,Â” she said. Â“I donÂ’t normally like to do that, but IÂ’m glad that she was able to set the pace, and I was able to stay with her.Â”Cozzarelli, who will meet Fike again on Saturday at the NCHSAA 4-A Mideast Regional at SAS Soccer Park, said her conference win was an important steppingstone for her future races. Â“This race is going to give me confidence for the next two,Â” she said. Â“I have a chance now. I know I have a chance. I know what Callan can do. SheÂ’s such a good runner.Â”As the race progressed, Cozzarelli said she never looked back and ran as if Fike could pass her at any time.Â“In the woods I was just telling myself, Â‘I can keep going. If I want to win this race, if I want to win states, this is what I have to do right here, right now,Â’Â” Cozzarelli said.Finishing third was fine with Cox, who also tasted the sweetness of a team victory that proved the Falcons are ready to challenge for the state title.Â“WeÂ’re a real strong team,Â” Cox said. Â“All of our top girls are real, real close. We all train together. We all try to stick together and come in real close together. This year weÂ’re going for a state win.Â”Green Hope senior Felicity Brower, who finished fourth (20:38.38), two spots ahead of twin sister Megan (20:58.74), said the Falcons were ready to defend their Tri-Eight title.Â“We were expecting to win, because we have a really strong team this year,Â” Felicity Brower said.Apex coach Roy Cooper said his runners gave their best shot.Â“Obviously you get disappointed if things donÂ’t work out in your favor,Â” Cooper said, Â“but itÂ’s always been to me about the process. YouÂ’re going to come up short sometimes, thatÂ’s just the bottom line when you come out here and compete. If you give the effort, if you give that maximum, supreme effort on a given day, you canÂ’t fault the effort. Our kids ran hard.Â”
Falcons win fifth straightEntering the Tri-Eight Conference Cross Country Championship at Bond Park on Oct. 18, Apex High appeared to be a team intent on ending Green Hope HighÂ’s run of four consecutive conference crowns.In the end, though, the Falcons, led by individual winner Zak Roshdy (17:18.58), proved unbeatable. The Falcons totaled 30 points, eight fewer than runner-up Apex. Cary High was third with 80 points, followed by Athens Drive High (89 points), Fuquay-Varina High (173), Middle Creek High (180), Panther Creek High (186) and Lee County High (220).The Cougars, though, with five runners among the top-12 finishers, gave Green Hope coach Michael Miragliuolo a scare.Â“Apex has come on really strong,Â” Miragliuolo said. Â“Our top five ran well, and then Apex made it close, got us a little nervous there. It was a good race.Â”Miragliuolo specifically praised Apex junior Bob Vanderham (17:21.27), who led for some of the race before being overtaken by Roshdy in the closing minutes of the 5,000-meter race and finished second.Â“Vanderham made it a lot closer than we thought it was going to be,Â” Miragliuolo said.Roshdy, who improved immensely in the last year, led five Falcons among the top 11 finishers.Â“I felt a little bit tired during the first mile, but by the second mile I knew how bad our team needed the points, so I just prayed and I got past (Vanderham) on the big hill and just knew I had enough to hold it, so I did,Â” said Roshdy, who credited hard summer training for his improvement. Â“I just decided that every race this year I was going to have no regrets after the race. So I worked hard. Â“I just started with a smaller goal to be the best runner on my team and then when I saw it was possible I could be the best in the conference I definitely went for it.Â”Green Hope senior Nate Youd, in his second year on varsity, finished ninth (17:57.78) after finishing 17th last year.Â“We came out and we knew thatÂ’s what we had to do Â— defend our title,Â” Youd said. Â“Everyone was going strong for us. It feels good to come out and keep it up.Â”As the lone senior scorer back from last yearÂ’s championship team, Youd assumed the role of team leader.Â“All summer, all year, itÂ’s been kind of my job to work with the team and lead them to it,Â” he said. Â“IÂ’m not the top runner, but itÂ’s my job to kind of keep them all together.Â”Vanderham, who was 18th in the 2005 conference meet, took the lead from Roshdy near the 2-mile mark but could not close the deal.Â“I was really motivated,Â” Vanderham said. Â“I just prepared really well for the race. I felt good.Â”Losing to Green Hope was Â“pretty disappointing,Â” Vanderham said. Â“We had a pretty good chance of winning this year, but we came up short.Â”Apex junior Michael Trapp, who finished 10th, said the Cougars had been Â“trying hard all year longÂ” to beat Green Hope. The Falcons, though, just packed their scoring runners a little better. Â“TheyÂ’re an intimidating bunch when theyÂ’re all together,Â” Trapp said. Â“They pack, almost right from the beginning the whole way through.Â”Apex coach Roy Cooper said his boys had the team title within their grasp but lost it in the closing mile.Â“I was very proud of our guys,Â” Cooper said. Â“Hats off to Green Hope. Those kids ran extremely well. We had Â’em beat at two and a quarter [miles], and in the last three quarters of a mile, their kids rallied back and came up strong.Â”Cary senior Peter Barnes placed 17th and helped the Imps to a third-place team finish. The Imps also had hopes of dethroning Green Hope, hopes they will keep alive when the two teams meet again Saturday at the NCHSAA 4-A Mideast Regional.Â“They have a long streak going, and we respect that, but we were just hoping that we would be pretty good,Â” Barnes said. Â“WeÂ’ll just see how that plays out.Â”
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