Three top-10 finishes propelled the Halifax County High School boys’ cross country team to a second-place finish at the Piedmont District cross country championships held Wednesday at the Smith River Sports Complex in Martinsville.
Andrew Salley finished the 5,000 meters in a time of 18:15.40, good for third place, while Ethan Kirkhart was eighth with a time of 20:30.92 and Will van Opstal ninth with a time of 20:43.11.
J.T. Francis ran a time of 2:08.31 and finished in 14th place, Luke Redd and Trevor Riddle finished in 20th and 21st place, with times of 25:33.75 and 25:33.92, and Nathan Comer ran a time of 25:33.75, good for a 23rd-place finish.
Lydia Wenzel led Comets girls with a time of 28:18.93, good for 11th-place, while Mallory Salley finished 14th with a time 30:45.41 and Morgan Crenshaw 21st in a time of 34:57.27.
Tunstall High School won the district championship on the boys’ side with a low score of 37, and Halifax County was second with a score of 50, while Bassett High School had a score of 64 and Patrick County a score of 78.
Bassett won the girls’ district championship with a low score of 21, compared to 37 for Tunstall. Halifax County did not have the required number of girls to complete the course in the girls’ meet and did not a team score.
Ashton Weaver of Tunstall won the boys’ race with a time of 17:25.58, and Piper Doughton of Bassett won the girls’ race with a time of 22:07.95.
A total of 11 runners finished the race, and six made the all-district team, according to head coach David Riddle, including Andrew Salley, Kirkhart, van Opstal and Francis on the boys’ side, and Wenzel and Mallory Salley on the girls’ side.
Riddle saw a “mixed bag” of results at the district championship meet, much like he’s seen the entire season, a season shortened due to COVID-19 protocols.
“We were looking at placing as many runners as possible in the top-15 to make all-district. We had 11 runners finish and six made all-district, so that was a success,” said Riddle.
Wenzel and Mallory Salley were all-district on the girls’ side, while Andrew Salley, Kirkhart, van Opstal and Francis were named all-district on the boys’ side.
“For the guys, we were looking to carry the momentum in the meet from last week over into this week and shooting for the top spot in the district, but unfortunately we fell a little bit short,” Riddle explained.
“Still, we will look at the second-place finish as a success to close out the season strong.”
Injuries have plagued the Comets’ girls’ cross country team the entire season, and that carried over into Wednesday, with only four girls completing their runs, Riddle explained.
“We were not able to finish with a team score with four girls completing the meet, and we had a couple of girls who struggled a bit due to the conditions and temperature as well,” he said.
“We will get momentum back and look to finish strong next week (at the Region 4 meet).
“Region 4 is a solid region. Last year, the rise in competition brought out the best in many of our runners, and hopefully we will see the same this year.”