KERNERSVILLE — When programs are as deep as the Broughton boys’ cross country team or the girls at Green Hope, nothing can stand in the way of winning the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A title.
Broughton claimed its third straight championship despite losing the Caps’ No. 2 runner early in Saturday’s race at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex, while the Green Hope girls relied on a pair of newcomers to claim its fifth title in a row.
William Roberson led the Caps, placing third with a time of 15 minutes, 21.92 seconds despite being even with the top two late in the race. Broughton finished with 49 points to beat Mount Tabor, which had 72. Apex (124) placed third, while Green Hope’s boys team was sixth (191) and Millbrook eighth (214)
Wyatt Maxey of Charlotte Providence won the race in 15:17.55, followed by Ian Milder of Mount Tabor (15:18.32). Broughton’s John Dalton Rohr (15:39.64) placed seventh, Asher Smith-Rose (15:43.42) was ninth and Jeremy Brown (15:45.64) was 10th.
“It’s not really what I wanted, but I wanted to be with Wyatt and Ian at the end,” Roberson said. “I was just trying to set myself up to be with them, and when they kicked, I kicked but they just had a little more leg speed at the end.”
Among the girls, Green Hope posted 81 points to slip past Asheville Roberson (91) thanks to a third-place finish from sophomore Elly Henes, who transferred from Athens Drive this year.
“I did not expect this,” Henes said after posting a time of 17:42.88 to place behind Mount Tabor’s Kayla Montgomery (17:29.12) and runner-up Bianca Bishop (17:40.87) of Providence. “I know training all year has gotten me ready for this, but today is a big, big breakthrough.
“It’s a mental thing, wanting to stay up there with the lead pack. ... I think some of us had a good day and some of us had a not-so-great day, but overall, we did pretty good and I’m content.”
Green Hope’s Theresa Enright (18:25.09) placed 11th, followed by Katie Tomasi (18:45.92) in 19th and Reilly Caldwell (19:00.32) in 27th.
Elisa Sargent, a junior who moved up the Falcons’ order from seventh to fifth for the state meet, posted a time of 19:14.38 to finish 33rd overall and cap Green Hope’s scoring.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Sargent, who moved to Raleigh from Iowa this year. “It was a little off my best time, but I gave it all I’ve got. I just wasn’t feeling too good.”
Green Hope coach Roger Collins agreed that the Falcons weren’t at their best.
“All we ask them to do is go out and give a great effort that they can be proud of,” Collins said. “It wasn’t our peak performance of the season. Some kids were a little bit off their (personal bests) – that happens.
“When some people are off, you rely on others to pick them up. We really have a dynamic of working as a team. It’s not about five or six different individuals, it’s about working collectively every day.”
That has built Green Hope into a traditional power, though Collins does not compare seasons.
“Each year is a different team,” Collins said. “I don’t like the whole ‘streak’ idea. I told them, ‘Don’t ever call yourselves defending champions.’ Each year is an individual year.”
In the boys’ race, Broughton junior Peter Millsaps was pulled from the race because of breathing difficulty, coach David Christian said.
“Fortunately, we had guys who could move up,” said Christian, who now has five state titles in 10 seasons. “William Sandine, who’s a junior, was our fifth guy today. Big props to him; ... I think he was probably coming in thinking that he wasn’t going to have to work today, and he became probably the most important runner on our team.
“Year in and year out, I’m out here and everybody else is (out here) to make the kids better, to give them memories that they can cherish and hold onto. ... All the credit goes to the athletes, the kids – they’re the ones who do all the work. I just go along for the ride.”
The next stop on that ride is the Nike Regionals in Cary later this month, and Broughton is the only boys’ program to send a team into the bracket.
“We qualified our team in 2008, and I think this team is better,” Christian said. “The top two teams go to Nike Nationals in Portland, Ore., the first Saturday in December. That is the goal for the season – this is just a step along the way.”