Both West Stokes’ and North Stokes’ men’s cross country teams finished strong at the Midwest 1A/2A regional championship meet last Saturday at Beeson Park in Kernersville. Having taken top times, the two teams qualified for the upcoming state meet at Beeson Park this Saturday. Trailing South Stokes failed to qualify for the state meet.
West Stokes’ men’s team finished in third place among 2A schools last week with a total time of one hour and 30 minutes and scored 88 points. North Stokes’ men’s team finished in third place among 1A schools with total time of one hour and 30 minutes and scored 112 points.
Wildcats Head Coach Benji Knox said he was happy with his men’s team qualifying for the state meet. “We were hoping to be in the top four,” he said. “We knew we had a good shot with the boys.”
There was a time early in the season when Knox didn’t think his team would not qualify for the state meet. Early on, it seemed as though the cross country team didn’t have as much “talent” as in years past, but what the team lacked in talent, they made up for with “heart,” he said.
“I was totally surprised,” he said. “I didn’t think they would finish as well as they did.”
West Stokes’ Jason Barber finished in first place in the 2A race with a time of 16:40. Aaron Lipchak finished in 12th place with a time of 17:54. This is the second year that Jason Barber has won the regional race.
Knox said he was proud of Barber’s finish. “This is a huge honor for him,” he said. “He has worked hard, you can tell by the results.”
North Stokes’ Sean Condon finished in sixth place in the 1A race with a time of 17:02. Justin Kenard and James Hammonds had good finishing times (17:26; 17:53) as well, but narrowly missed making the top 10 in the race.
The Vikings’ Head Coach Rodney King said he was happy with the men’s finishing times. “They did really well,” he said. “We just have some really talented people.”
The West Stokes and North Stokes women’s teams did not qualify for the state meet. The West Stokes women’s team finished in fifth place with a total time of one hour and 53 minutes and scored 149 points. The North Stokes women’s team finished in eighth place with a total time of one hour, 59 minutes and scored 212 points.
King said he was disappointed that his women’s team did not qualify for the state meet. “They ran well, but not as well as I had hoped,” he said.
Knox echoed that same sentiment. He said that some of the members of his women’s team were sick recently and had to “struggle” through the race. Knox said that the women’s team worked hard this season and still had an “impressive” finish.
Although neither women’s team qualified for the state meet, each team had one qualifying member for the upcoming race. North Stokes’ Hannah McBride finished in ninth place with a time of 20:51 and West Stokes’ Kaitlyn Stone finished in 12th place with a time of 21:04.
Knox said that it was exciting to qualify for the state meet. “That’s the goal every year,” he said.
King, agreed. “If everyone is healthy, we should finish in the top five,” he said.