West Stokes ran in the Western Piedmont Athletic Cross Country meet at Fisher River Park in Dobson on Tuesday. The boy’s team finished higher than projected at third place and the girls finished fourth.
“Going into the season is always unknown,” said Wildcat coach Benji Knox. “Our boys’ team did better than I expected today. When looking at our conference, I felt like we could compete with them, but they exceeded my expectations. I believe most of our team hit their personal records today.”
Forbush’s Dakota Mendenhall finished 52 seconds ahead of second place runner Erick Ramirez-Ramos from Surry Central. Mendenhall set a course record of 15:58.30. West Stokes senior Adam Mays came in seventh place with a time of 17:57.80. Four other Wildcats finished in the top 20: Zach Watts placed 12th with a time of 19:16.80, TJ Magaraci 13th (19:29.80), Cameron Knox 14th (19:24.80) and Jacob Adkins 17th (19:35.20).
“I believe the younger kids really pushed the upper classmen this year,” Knox said. “They are very competitive in practice. I wish we could have had Adam for more than one year because he has made great strides. We are young and hopefully our success will carry over to our spring track season and then into next year.”
Atkins boys’ team placed first with a team score of 42, followed by Walkertown (56), West Stokes (58), Forbush (95), North Surry (112) and Carver (176). Surry Central didn’t have enough runners to compete for a team title.
For the girls, the Lady Cats finished in fourth place with a score of 77 behind Forbush (38), Surry Central (72), and North Surry (76). Walkertown (89) and Atkins (140) placed fifth and sixth.
Junior Erin Duke placed second for the Wildcats with a time of 20:31.60. Anna-Kathryn Kilby from Forbush finished first and was named WPAC runner of the year with a mark of 19:27.85. Senior Caroline Pulliam ran a time of 23:00.03 and finished sixth for West Stokes. Hunter Jackson placed 11, the only other Wildcat in the top 20.
“I felt like our girls team would be able to compete at a higher level today,” Knox said. “Some of the girls didn’t run as well as I would have hoped. I’m proud of Erin and the job she did. Sometimes it’s hard to run where she was. Anna was a minute in front of her and third place was a minute behind her. It’s hard to pace yourself like that. She has cut more than two-minutes off her time since the beginning of the season. She was unable to compete last year because of an injury, so it was good to see her run today.”
Mays, Watts, and Magaraci made all-conference for the boys team, while Duke, Pulliam, and Jackson placed for the girl’s team.
1A/2A regionals will be next Saturday at Beeson Park in Kernersville. The meet will start at 8 a.m.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.