Lexington ran into the history books on Saturday at Sandhills Research Park.
With yet another superior team performance, the Wildcats’ boys cross country team became the first Class 4A outfit, male or female, to win a fourth consecutive championship.
“The guys were very aware that no other team had won four in a row in 4A,” Lexington coach Bailey Harris said. “That was one of the goals up on the board at the beginning of the season, but these guys don’t need slogans to get them going. I’ve never been around a group of self-motivated athletes like we’ve had around here for the past couple of years. They push each other in the offseason, in practice and at every meet. They are always looking to get better.”
Juniors Tony Morales and Zack Langston finished first and second individually, senior Blake White was fourth, fellow senior Erik Wendt placed 17th and freshman Hunter Janus rounded out the scoring by cracking the top 50.
“I figured we’d be strong at the top,” Harris said. “Tony and Zack have been right there all season, and Blake always steps it up at the big meets, but it always comes down to those fourth and fifth guys. You never know where you are until that fifth guy gets in. Erik and Hunter got the job done.”
It was a special day for Morales, who became Lexington’s second individual champion, the first to prevail on a state championship team.
“To finally win individually was huge for me after being so close before and getting the fourth in a row for the team was awesome,” said Morales, who raised his fist in triumph as he approached the finish line. “It was a perfect day.”
Morales finished fourth as a freshman and moved up to third a year ago. His time of 15:24.28 was the third-fastest winning time on any level at Sandhills.
White became the first scoring-runner to be on four 4A championship teams.
“It’s a gratifying thing for me personally, but the greater honor has been being around the most dedicated runners in the state all these years,” said White, who made the all-state team for the third year in a row.
Lexington finished with a 63-84 margin of victory over runner-up Mauldin.
In other highlights, Blythewood’s Mike Lantz (3rd in 4A), Spring Valley’s Connor McCormack (14th in 4A), Dreher’s Nick Putman (7th in 3A) and Pelion’s Aubrey Hite (11th in 2A) made the all-state cut.
Pelion was the only other Midlands team in the top 10, placing seventh.
Eau Claire’s Omar Sharif saw his bid to become a two-time state champion came to a bitter end when the Shamrocks senior star fell at about the three-mile mark and did not finish the race.