RAEFORD — The Richmond Senior Cross Country team finished up its season on Saturday in the NCHSAA 4A Mideast Regional at Carolina Horse Park.
Junior Carson Jordan paced a group of six Richmond boys runners, braving through the frosty morning temperatures and finishing the 5K course with a time of 19:07. Teammate Joey Nicholson ended his cross country career with a time of 20:28 to come across the finish second behind Jordan.
Meanwhile, Will Thompson (22:58) and Joshua Wallace (23:11) were in the next wave to round the horse track and cross the ending marker. Raiders runners Kodie Simmons (24:48) and Devin Tilman (25:56) were the final team members to finish on the day.
Richmond coach Reggie Miller was honored by the team after the race, which was his last after 11 seasons coaching the team.
“It was a good race today…there really wasn’t losers because everyone came across the finish line,” said Miller.
“Good group of kids. I’m gonna miss them very much, boys and girls.”
First-year girls coach Jessie Covington experienced her first regionals and despite missing a couple of key runners, she felt the team’s overall effort was a fitting way to conclude the season.
“I think they did great. All their times were improved at this course,” said Covington. “We just know what the competition is like, so we just got to move forward.”
Ariel Brown led the group with a time of 23:02, marking her best of the year at the course.
Having already competed at the venue this season, Brown says she knew the exact spots that gave her trouble and tried to increase her pace at those locations to improve her position, but her body wouldn’t cooperate.
Even still, the veteran runner feels like this year’s race was an improvement from her regionals run last season.
“Every race I feel like I could have done something better…but overall, I did alright,” said Brown.
Covington tracked Brown’s splits and was impressed, especially with the time on her first mile.
“Her mile mark was great…She did really good and I’m proud of her,” Covington said of Brown.
“We’re going to miss Ariel so much, with the leadership that she has and her little spirit. The team is not gonna be the same without her.
Looking back on her career, Brown says that cross country was her favorite sport because of the close-knit camaraderie with her teammates, and that she will miss them.
“I loved running at Richmond. We had a good time,” she said with a smile.
Freshman Sheccid Heaton paced a trio of Lady Raiders that finished together behind Brown. Heaton had a time of 26:31, followed by Analee Wyand (26:39) and Allyson Leggett (26:52).
Freshman runner Rylie Bohman rounded out the girls group with a time of 26:58.
Covington deemed this season as a “growing year” and says the current group has promise to eventually obtain the overall goal of making it to states.
“We’ve got a young team, so I’m really excited about that,” she said. “We can do it, I know we can. And we’re going to work towards it.”
Green Hope took the first-place team honors for the boys and Panther Creek finished atop of the 16 girls groups that competed.