A second consecutive Big 8 Individual Conference Championship was more than enough for Cedar Ridge’s Ian Elliott to be named the Big 8 Male Runner of the Year on Wednesday.
Elliott, a senior, earned the honor for the second consecutive year. He finished first in three separate events this year, including the Big 8 Championship at Chapel Hill High School. His time of 16:42.28 edged out Chapel Hill’s Ryan Combs by eight seconds.
On top of that, he ran while the temperature was 89-degrees—in mid October.
“It was a lot grittier this year,” said Elliott, who won the 2015 Big 8 championship at Pittsboro’s Northwood High. “I feel like I’m good running in the heat. We put in a lot of miles during the summer. Although I knew this would feel awful, it’s just running.”
Elliott also set his personal best time of 16:30 at the Adidas XC Challenge at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
Through plenty of success during his high school years, Elliott doesn’t see cross country in his immediate future.
“I’m not looking to run competitively in college,” said Elliott. “I’d love to stay in shape and run for a club. Maybe run a “Fun Run 5K.” Maybe take a race every now and then just to see where I’m at. I think after this upcoming track season, I’ll be done with competitive running.”
Two Orange runners earned at-large spots: Andrew Sollars, who had the highest finish for the Panthers in the Big 8 Championships, and Sam Rasinske.
On the girls side, Cedar Ridge’s Elizabeth Zarzar was named to the All-Conference team following a third place finish at the Big 8 Championships. Last month, Zarzar was honored with the WRAL Extra Effort Award.
“I was proud of my run that day, especially because of the heat,” said Zarzar. “I didn’t get my personal record. My time was still a lot better than I thought it was.”
Like Elliott, Zarzar runs indoor and outdoor track. Last spring, she finished 3rd in the Big 8 Conference in the 3200 meters. She also finished 3rd in the region in the same event.
Also making the All-Big 8 Conference from Cedar Ridge was Julie Averette, who finished eighth in the 3A Mideast Regionals with a time of 20:31.
For Orange, Adalyn Fleming made All-Big 8. Flemming, who started basketball season with Orange on Tuesday in a season-opening victory over East Chapel Hill, finished first in Orange’s opening home meet on September 7th against Burlington Williams. After finishing 11th in the Big 8 Championships, she came in 13th at the Mideast Regionals.
Earning At-large sports for Orange in girls cross country was Ava Heffernan.