In one month, cross country teams from across the state will descend on the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville for the state championships.
On Saturday, the Orange men’s cross country team raced only 28 miles away at Hagan State Park in Pleasant Garden. They turned in a performance strong enough that they hope to replicate in November just a little further west.
The Panthers won the 39th annual Greensboro Cross Country Invitational on Saturday. Senior Gabriel Schmid, the defending 3A State Individual champion, came in first place against a field of 146 runners. Schmid led the pack with a time of 15:15.64, beating the runner-up, Tate Shore of Ronald Reagan, by 19 seconds.
Schmid has now won all four races where he has competed this season. Orange, which has won two consecutive Central Carolina Conference championships and the 2021 Mideast Regional title, has also won all four of its meets they’ve competed in as a team this year.
On Saturday, Orange had five runners finish in the top 25, which propelled them to the team championship. Sophomore Myles Jermyn came in eighth with a time of 16:13.9. Peter Musser finished 20th (16:46.33), while sophomore Lucas Van Mater crossed the finish line 22nd (16:48.3) and Alden Cathey came in 23rd (16:51.26).
Orange finished with 57 points, finishing on top in a field of 19 teams. Chapel Hill was in second with 83 points, while Grimsley finished 3rd at 106 points.
Of the top ten finishers, Orange was the only one that wasn’t a 4A squad from North Carolina. Cave Spring High, based out of Roanoke, VA, finished eighth.
Nolan Hufner (45th at 17:11.33), Cyrus Neal (66th at 17:44.64), Aiden Viola (86th at 18:19.25) also finished in the top 90 for Orange.
It was the second time in two weeks that Orange finished ahead of its former conference rivals from Chapel Hill. On September 20, Orange won the Orange County Championships, a meet that features Orange, Chapel Hill, East Chapel Hill and Cedar Ridge, the four senior institutions in Orange County. The Panthers had four of the top five finishers, led once again by Schmid, who crossed the finish line first at 10:18.60. Chapel Hill’s Declan Harden came in second at 10:31.20.
After that, Orange runners took the 3rd-through-5th spots, which led to the team championship. Musser finished third at 10:43.80, while Jermyn came in fourth (10:44.70), and Cathey finished fifth (10:45.60). Van Mater had a crucial tenth place finish (10:57.90), which helped Orange to the team title. Neal crossed the finish line 16th (11:27.60), while Nolan Hufner came in 17th (11:30). Viola added a 20th place finish (11:34.80).
Orange finished with 23 points. Chapel Hill came in second with 32 points. East Chapel Hill finished third with 90 points. Cedar Ridge registered 103 points.
Cedar Ridge junior Edgar Ibarra, who also competes in outdoor track and field, was the top finisher for the Red Wolves. He finished 21st at 11:40.80. Red Wolf sophomore Ryan Matthews finished 22nd at 11:41.20, while sophomore Henry Alexander came in 23rd (11:41.70).
In the women’s race at the Orange County Championships, Cedar Ridge finished third, led by junior Naomi Dyreng. In a field of 38 runners, Dyreng finished fifth at 13:17.60. Cedar Ridge’s Abigail Klaitman came in seventh at 13;38.20. Cia Biddix finished 17th for the Red Wolves (14:48.70).
Orange senior Grace Pell was the top placer for the Lady Panthers in 27th place (15:28.10). Senior Channing Mahaney came in 28th (15;32.70).
East Chapel Hill won the women’s team competition with 29 points. Chapel Hill was second with 37 points, while Cedar Ridge was third with 65 points. Orange had 114 pints.
Chapel Hill had the individual champion in the form of junior Chloe Solum, who paced the field with a time of 12:50.30. East Chapel Hill had the second, third and fourth finishers. Yara Sinnott was the highest finisher for the Wildcats, coming in second at 13:00.50.