Cross Country runners face off against nearly 300 competitors


Rachel Lyon

The boys compete in a dual meet against Heritage Sept. 22. John Autry leads Markian Kuropas, Joseph Lawhorn and Bailey Autry.

Gus Holub, co-sports editor

The cross country teams travelled to Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary Sept. 17 to test their mettle against some of the best runners on the east coast along with some of the best local competition.

Several of the top Cougar runners sat out of that week’s dual meet to prepare for the heightened Saturday event.

At the Adidas Challenge, WF standouts Bailey Autry and Kayla Holder and their teammates competed against nearly 300 runners from around the east coast of the U.S.

Holder took 15th overall with a time of 18:49.70. Autry took 77th with his 16:47.00 finish. The winning time in the girls’ race went to Nevada Moreno of Leesville (17:44.70) and the boys’ winner was Connor Lane of Cardinal Gibbons (14:59.30).

Holder stated she was “happy with the performance,” but she noted she needed to work on her speed.

The intensity of competition in this meet versus a local dual meet was noticed by Holder.

“It’s better; it’s much better. There are more people to talk to. More shoving. I got shoved a lot. A girl fell in front of me,” Holder said.

Junior Emma Anderson echoed Holder’s perception of the meet.

“There’s a lot more competition, and it’s a lot more serious. There is just a lot more going on, and we just feel the competitiveness,” Anderson said.

Anderson finished fifth for the Cougars and 262nd overall (23:48.00).

Also placing for the WF team were freshman Erin Spreen, two back from Holder, with a time of 18:56.30, junior Casey Turro (21:00.80) at 133rd, sophomore Sydney Quate (21:40.00) at 168th and freshman Tyler Bland (21:57.00) at 184th.

On the boys’ side, senior Trelek Jones’ 89th place finish (16:55.60) earned him second finisher for the team. He also set a personal record at the meet. Jones was followed by sophomore John Autry at 131st (17:25.10) and junior Joseph Lawhorn at 151st (17:38.10).

Lawhorn set a personal record at the race and felt “pretty good, a lot better than my last two years.”

Next for the Cougars was junior Markian Kuropas at 179th (18:01.70). Kuropas enjoyed the increased competition that the meet afforded.

“It’s a lot bigger, so it gets a little shovey. It’s a lot better. You run faster times. It’s a lot more fun,” Kuropas said.

Both teams have found greater success this year than in earlier years. As a senior leader, Bailey Autry was asked what separates this year’s squad from previous seasons.

Autry said, “I feel like people have really matured over the past year, and they have made huge time jumps. They try a lot harder this year, and they see the team is better. I think it is inspiring them to do better, and when some people do that, it forces all of us to do it.”

Reporters Mayla Gilliam, Austin Lee and Colleen Michaels contributed to this story.