Let’s look back at recent doings on the Midlands cross country circuit:
The big area stories on Saturday on the Sandhills Research Park state meet course proved to be in the girls division where three Midlands entries cracked the top 10. Heathwood Hall, the No. 1 team in SCISA, led the way with a second-place finish behind Wade Hampton of Greenville. Dutch Fork, Pelion and A.C. Flora also made the top 10 cut.
The individual star was Airport’s Megan Stahlberger who finished second with a time of 18 minutes, 15.07 seconds.
The Highlanders scored 88 team points to 62 for the Generals, who are ranked No. 5 in Class 4A. Brooke Grice (6th, 19:16.99) and Sydney Ellen (9th, 19:22.62) led the Highlanders to another lofty finish against top competition, and had plenty of support from Kate Nassab (19th, 20:08.27), Molly Joseph (26th, 20:38.45) and Madison Mason (28th, 20:42.11). Harriet Rogers (29th, 20:42.66) and Katie Beach (31st, 20:45.27) also ran well, but did not score.
Dutch Fork, No. 8 in 4A, took fourth place behind Hope Whisman, who placed third individually with a time of 18:50.60. With only four other runners entered DF had no room for error, and Hope Stegar (2th, 20:08.57), Anna Johnson (24th, 20:21.31), Sara Stegar (27th, 20:40.31) and Haley Saxby (33rd, 20:49.25) came through with solid efforts behind Whisman.
Nevada Minard and Antoinette Fulton led Pelion to a fifth place team finish. The Panthers are the No. 4 team in Class 2A. Minard (19:56.85) and Fulton (20:00.09) cross the line 16th and 17th place, respectively. Patricia Garcia (42nd, 21:16.99), Miyonta Mavins (45th, 21:30.41) and Sammi Bullock (54th, 21:46.86) rounded out the Panther scoring.
A.C. Flora, No. 6 in 3A, placed 10th in the team standings with 286 points, just four points back of Eastside (No. 3 in 3A). Susannah Cate paced the Falcons with a fine, fifth-place run in 19:16.06. Cate’s support came from Maryann Riley (38th, 21:01.52), Elizabeth Bock (75th, 22:43.79), Marlee Bryan (82nd, 23:07.32) and Stefanie Feltwell (86th, 23:19.38).
In the boys race, Dutch Fork dominated the local headlines. Chris Stafford was the individual champion with a time of 15:44.41 and the ninth-ranked Silver Foxes finish third as a team. As was the case with the DF girls team, the Silver Foxes had just five runners in the race, but that did not adversely affect the team performance. Avery Dominick (11th, 16:53.15), Michael Bradley (24th, 17:24.27), Jo Klasnic (31st, 17:33.40) and James Bowen (37th, 17:44.92) backed up Stafford.
Spring Valley was the only other Midlands boys team to crack the top 10. The unranked Vikings finished in seventh place. Ben Garrett (15th, 17:07.31) led the SV pack. Andrew Marino (35th, 17:42.24), Will Braddock (41st, 17:47.42), Brendon Glanz (46th, 17:51.96) and Clayton Brandenberg (76th, 18:34.46) were the Vikings’ other scoring runners.
Pelion just missed the cut with an 11th-place finish, but Ben Hite rated individual notice for a solid individual showing (13th, 16:57.71).
Heathwood Hall’s girls team tuned-up for the Sandhills race with a first-place finish at its own 22-team midweek event on Oct. 3. The Highlanders order of finished was the virtually the same as at Sandhills. Grice (2nd, 19:24.21) set the pace for Ellen (5th, 19:40.25), Nassab (11th, 20:27.22), and Joseph (12th, 20:34.43). The only change was in the fifth and final scoring sport where Rogers (14th, 21:09.60) nipped Mitcham (15th, 21:17.93) this time.
Cardinal Newman was the other local team in the top 10. The ninth-ranked SCISA Cardinals finished in ninth place. CN’s scoring lineup included Caroline Gasser (18th, 21:30.21), Marie Silver (45th, 23:14.77), Mary Emma Dayhuff (51st, 23:42. 98), Ashley Maddock 60th, 24:01.67) and Alyssa Gorrin (74th, 24:37.73).
Individually, Airport’s Stahlberger beat Ashbrook Gwinn of Mead Hall Episcopal for first place with a time of 18:45.12. Gwinn turned the tables on the Eagles senior star 10 days later at the Sandhills Invitational.
Heathwood Hall was the top boys team. Stephen Ridley was the individual champion (17:17.43) and the Highlanders were the only area entry to finish in the top 10. Ridley’s backing came from Trey Edmonds (31st, 19:14.62), Reed Pansegreau (36th, 19:28.76), Robert Petit (54th, 20:26.77) and Nick Balile (89th, 22:18.30).
Ben Lippen’s Tyler Mitchell managed a top 15 individual performance, placing 13th in 18:10.48.
The top-ranked Wildcat boys and girls teams dominated the show at the 14-team midweek race on Oct. 9.
All five Lexington scoring runner cracked the top 10 individual list as the three-time defending state champions rolled to a 27-77 margin of victory over runner-up Porter-Gaud – the No. 1 team in SCISA. Tony Morales was the individual champion with a time of 14:54.1, followed by Zack Langston (3rd, 15:01.84), Blake White (4th, 15:24.93), Erik Wendt (9th, 16:21.52) and Thomas Harris (19th, 16:22.27).
Chris Stafford of Dutch Fork and Blythewood’s Mike Lantz also rated top-10 status. Stafford placed 5th in 15:29.13 and Lantz was one spot back in 15:31.08.
The venerable race in Charlotte saw a couple of notable performances by Midlands entries.
Blythewood’s Mike Lantz, a transfer from Ridge View, had a fifth-place finish in the Open Division with a time of 15:42. The big story on the girls side was Ridge View eighth-grader Claudia Cannon, who clocked in at 18:49 and was 14th in the Invitational Division.