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First Flight cross country teams place fourth in state

Closing out a season delayed by continued COVID restrictions, area athletes were in Kernersville this past weekend for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state cross country championships.

Normally run in early November, COVID restrictions and school delays forced officials to split this year’s annual championship into a two-day competition with 2A and 4A schools on January 22 followed by the division 1A and 3A championships on January 23.

Covering the hilly 5,000 meter course at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex with 11 other scoring teams Friday, First Flight girls placed fourth for their best ever. In 2016, Nighthawks girls finished sixth and placed seventh in both 2015 and 2019.

Leading the Nighthawks girls, freshman Lucy Stecher was sixth in a field of 94 runners. Her time of 19:50 was less than one second off her best time of the season over a much flatter course. Teammate Maddy Wagner, the only senior on the team, finished 24th overall, clocking 21:07.

Also in the competition was Hailee Reinke, who ran as Currituck’s only runner finishing 51st with a time of 23:21.46. Angie Allen was the overall individual 2A winner with a time of 18:05.50, helping the North Lincoln Knights – which finished in second place each of the past three years – claim the team championship title.

In the boys 2A race, where 100 runners toed the starting line, senior Tyler Sylvia continued to lead his First Flight teammates to the finish line with a time of 16:17.30 for fifth place overall. Walter Sellers, from Atkins High School, was the individual winner with a time of 15:40.86. First Flight boys were the fourth place team while North Lincoln repeated as team champions for the fourth year in a row. First Flight was second behind North Lincoln in 2017, 2918 and 2019.

Both Lucy Stecher and Tyler Sylvia earned All-State honors.

Unable to field full point-scoring teams, Manteo High School had three athletes navigate the Ivey Redmon course competing as individual runners on Saturday.

“All three runners ran well on a difficult, hilly course at Kernersville,” said Manteo coach Emily DiNoto.

DiNoto went on to say she thought all three runners handled the pressure that comes with running against the best in the state. It was the third appearance at the state finals for senior Tiffany Fenz, who placed 33rd in a field of 95, and the first for freshman Madison Flynn in 19th. Also running was senior Aldo Herrera, who placed 59th among 91 finishers.

Results from the January 22-23 NCHSAA state cross country championships in Kernersville at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex include:

2A Girls NCHSAA State Cross Country Championships – 1/22/2021
1 Angie Allen (North Lincoln) 18:05.50
6 Lucy Stecher (First Flight) 19:50.85
24 Maddy Wagner (First Flight) 21:07.03
27 Chloe Wienert (First Flight) 21:36.98 21
29 Tatum Dermatas (First Flight) 21:45.15
47 Lily Snow (First Flight) 22:57.92
51 Hailee Reinke (Currituck) 23:21.46
80 Paulina Goping (First Flight) 25:28.38

2A Girls Team Scores
1 North Lincoln 42
2 Lake Norman Charter School 62
3 Carrboro 84
4 First Flight 99
5 Croatan 144
6 Brevard 151
7 West Stanly 165
8 West Stokes 201
9 South Rowan 232
10 Providence Grove 285
11 Roanoke Rapids 290
12 Washington 313

2A Boys NCHSAA State Cross Country Championships – 1/22/2021

1 Walter Sellers (Atkins) 15:40.86
5 Tyler Sylvia (First Flight) 16:17.30
16 Warner Campbell (First Flight) 16:54.27
25 Max Bowlin (First Flight) 17:19.13
32 Henry Stecher (First Flight) 17:45.05
36 Colin Byard (First Flight) 17:52.34
48 Jackson Hannon (First Flight) 18:17.16
69 Devon Coughlin (First Flight) 19:18.49

2A Boys Team Scores
1 North Lincoln 40
2 Atkins 79
3 Croatan 89
4 First Flight 100
5 South Rowan 151
6 Franklin 151
7 Carrboro 155
8 Brevard 199
9 Oak Grove High School 209
10 Durham School of the Arts 222
11 South Lenoir 342
12 Providence Grove 349

1A Girls NCHSAA State Cross Country Championships – 1/23/2021
1 Lauren Tolbert (Highland Tech) 19:15.05
19 Tiffany Fenz (Manteo) 21:26.90
33 Madison Flynn (Manteo) 22:26.85

1A Boys NCHSAA State Cross Country Championships – 1/23/2021
1 Aaron Rovnak (Franklin Academy) 16:47.65
59 Aldo Herrera (Manteo) 19:37.52

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