Published: Nov 02, 2011 02:03 AM
Modified: Nov 02, 2011 02:10 AM
CHARLOTTE - It came as no surprise that Cary Academy senior Thomas Graham, one of the nation's best runners, won the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association boys 3A state cross country title in chilly conditions on Saturday at McAlpine Park.
After all, he had done it before, more than any other runner in NCISAA history.
Graham became the first boy or girl to win four straight NCISAA cross country titles in the meet's 38-year history.
Graham won by 41 seconds, beating Asheville School's Ben Fiedler, 15:09 to 15:50, to help him wrap up his unprecedented fourth straight title. But he said his goal was to break 15 minutes, a time only eight North Carolina boys have achieved.
"Breaking 15 has been a cross country goal of mine, basically for the last three years," said Graham, whose Chargers was second to Providence Day (56-73), which won their fifth title in seven years. "I closed well, which I don't usually do, so that's something good that I can take away from this."
This was the first year NCISAA had three championships. Previously, the 1A and 2A championships were held together.
Cary Christian's girls, winners of the last two 1A/2A titles, won their third straight championship by claiming the 2A meet.
Cary Christian relied on Aundrea Holmes, who held off Grace Christian's Katarina Pibl (18:52 to 19:09) to win the 2A title. The Lady Knights also got all-state performances from Caroline Stogner (third, 19:43) and Elisabeth Heath (seventh, 20:25) to beat Davidson Day, 48-63.
Grace Christian won the boys' 2A title, its first, by upending defending champion Asheville Christian. Ian McPherson finished seventh (17:04) for all-state honors to lead the Eagles to their victory against Asheville Christian.