Spring Valley’s rapid improvement in boys cross country this season continued on Saturday Sandhills Invitational at Clemson Research Center. John Jones’ Class 4A ninth-ranked Vikings won the team championship by a 53-69 margin over neighboring, third-ranked Ridge View.
Blazers frontrunners David Jennings and Joseph Keitt were the first two men to cross the finish line, but Spring Valley’s depth advantage was the decisive factor.
Senior Ryan Moran was the Spring Valley leader, clocking in at 17 minutes, 05.30 seconds and finishing in fourth place. William Ivery (9th, 17:14.84), Matt Johnson (12th, 17:40.82), Jonathan Hanson (13th, 17:43.27) and Zach Parker (15th, 17:50.39) rounded out the Vikings’ winning pack.
Jennings did not match the personal record he set on Oct. 4 at the Wendy’s Invitational in Charlotte, but he did post a winning time of 16:16.88. It was the fourth national elite time of the season for the Blazers sophomore star.
Keitt followed Jennings with a time of 16:47.56 and Jay Lynch placed fifth in 17:06.22. Jeb Baker (18th, 17:56.59) and Ben Smick (41st, 18:29.69) rounded out the RV scoring lineup.
On the girls side, Ridge View senior Sierra Henderson had her fourth national elite time of the season (19:29.78), but the Blazers standout finished a distant second to Rock Hill’s Hannah Robinson, who scorched the state-meet course with a personal record time of 18:45.0
Ridge View finished sixth in the team standings. Tamara Smith (30th, 23:378.30), Andi Braxton (41st, 24:18.79), Macy Gordon (45th, 24:30.28) and Kimberly Ruiz (46th, 24:32.27) fell in behind Henderson’s lead.
But, as was the case in the boys division, Spring Valley got the better of its Region 5-4A rival in the latest duel on both team’s home course. The Vikings finished in fourth place behind Dutch Fork, Lexington and Easley.
Emily Bakaj lead the SV pack, finishing eighth with a time of 20:49.54. Alexandria Berry (16th, 22:02.60), Sally Rausch (22nd, 22:42.35), Annie Niehaus (29th, 23:19.89 and Olivia Knight (37th, 24:10.0) were the Vikings other scoring runners.