Pelion continued its impressive run of success at the Class 2A state cross country championship meet last weekend at Sandhills Research Park.
Mark Bedenbaugh’s Panthers cracked the Top 10 in both divisions for the 12th time since 1995. The boys returned to the charmed circle after missing the cut a year ago, placing fifth with 205 points. The girls had their second straight third-place finish with a team score of 155 points.
How consistent have the Panthers been since Class 2A debuted in 1992 for the boys and in 1995 for the girls? Very. Pelion’s boys have been a Top 10 team16 times in 18 tries since 1992. The girls rate is even a bit better – 14 Top 10 finished in 15 tries since 1995.
Nevada Minard was Pelion’s individual star. The freshman did not win her second straight state title, but she did finish fourth for her third consecutive Top 5 performance. This time, Minard checked in with a season-best time of 20:03.83. She won last year in 19:49.0 and was fourth as a seventh-grader in 2007 with a 20:22.0.
Senior Alexandria Kyzer closed out her career with a 20th-place finish, and was followed in scoring order by freshman Patricia Garcia, sophomore Morgan Payne and senior Anna Garcia.
Junior James Flake set the pace for the boys team, finishing 24th in 18:17.07. Seniors Craig Bennett and Jake Walker, junior Brandon Earwood and eighth-grader Aubrey Hite rounded out the scoring positions.