Four Midlands teams made the cut to run at the Class 2A state cross country meet at two qualifying meets on Saturday.
Pelion advanced by finishing in fourth place at the Lower State qualifying affair on the state meet course at Sandhills Research Center. Dominick Stogner and Aubrey Hite led the Panthers 134-point performance by finishing ninth and 10th, respectively. Stogner clocked in at 18:07.10, Hite at 18:17.60. Brandon Earwood (18th, 18:44.30), Dayton Baker (47th, 19:36.55) and Robert Flake (50th, 19:44.50) were Pelion’s other scoring runners.
Pelion finished fifth at state last year, which was the 16th time in 18 tries since 1992 that the Panthers have been a Top 10 team at state.
Mid-Carolina, Gilbert and Batesburg-Leesville all made the grade at the Upper State qualifier at Heritage Park in Simpsonville.
Mid-Carolina advanced to state for the first time, thanks to an eight-place team finish behind the running of Adam Summer (9th, 17:30); Dakota Murphey (30th, 18:18), Walker Ethridge (59th, 19:18), Zack Long (61st, 19:24) and Henning Crawford (70th, 20:05).
Gilbert qualified for the 15th time in 17 seasons (since 1994) with a 10th-place finish. Jerry Castro (20th, 17:56) paced the Indians pack.
Batesburg-Leesville will be running at state for the seventh straight year by earning the next-to-last Upper State invitation with an 11th place finish. Brandon James (25th, 18:06) and Derrick Amick (28th, 18:13) set the pace for the Panthers.
Eau Claire just missed the cut. The Shamrocks finished 13th, one place and 14 points behind Crescent. But EC will be represented by sophomore Omar Sharif, who qualified as an individual by finishing in fifth place with a time of 17:11.
All Class 2A girls teams in the Midlands will be on hand for the state finals this Saturday at Sandhills Research Park. Because so few 2A and 1A schools have girls cross country teams, no qualifying meet is necessary. The state meet is an all-comers affair.
The local team to watch is Pelion, which is looking to crack the top five at state for the 14th time in 16 tries since the debut of the Class 2A-1A division in 1995.