The rival crosstown cross country crews from the Lake Norman and Mooresville High girls programs both made selective individual strides during the this season’s annual I-Meck Conference Cross Country Championship Meet.
Each wound up a few steps shy, however, from making it a total team success on the part of either.
Helping form the field for the affair held on the Larry McAfee cross country course inside Charlotte’s McAlpine Greenway Park, the Wildcats and Blue Devils each made solo statements stand out to help showcase their performances in the event.
Lake Norman housed the overall meet medalist with team member Madeline Stolberg, who wound up pacing the field, to lead the way among her troops.
Mooresville countered by accounting for far more of the fastest first five finishers than any other entry in the field courtesy of the in-a-row placements of team members Sami Homburger, Ella Moore and Abby D’Amico chiming in with finishes of third, fourth and fifth to help highlight its effort.
Alas, despite the stellar individual accomplishments, Mooresville and Lake Norman logged in with official team showings of second and third that still allowed both squads to secure full team berths in later this week’s N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class West Regional Cross Country Championship Meet.
Mooresville tag-teamed the positions of each of its three fastest five finishers alongside the additional showings clocked in by team member Kailie Rockness and Lyndsy Neigel to accumulate a team total of 45 points that checked in just behind the 41 points tallied by I-Meck champion Hough High.
As is the case with all cross country meets, teams tally together the overall finishes of their five fastest sets of feet to achieve a total score.
In the case of Lake Norman, the Wildcats boasted of housing the overall fastest runner in the form of Stolberg, who also topped a twosome of teammates logging with finishes among the top-10 in the field. Also for Lake Norman, Ashley Walters piped in with a ninth-place finish.
Also for the Wildcats, they took into consideration the placements posted by Mary Loring, Katie Seaman and Lynn Masucci to reach their team total of 60 points good enough for third-place finish overall.
As it turned out, both teams wound up being hindered by the loss of key runners off each roster.
Just prior to the title meet, the projected number-one runner in Lake Norman’s camp was unable to compete. Then, during the opening mile of the meet, one of Mooresville’s entries dropped out of contention due to a knee injury.
“The girls ran their hearts out,’’ said Keven Gregg, Mooresville’s head cross country coach. “Losing one of the top runners in the first mile proved too big an obstacle, but we are extremely proud of these girls for the fight they put up during the race.”
In light of the top-three finishes, both Mooresville and Lake Norman scored team invites to the 4A class West Regional that is limited this year in attendance by both teams and individuals due to restrictions in place caused by COVID-19.
MHS and LNHS will help form the field for the regional affair that is scheduled to take place back on the same course later this week.