Vikings beat Jackets and the heat
Union Pines took both victories, with the Vikings and Lady Vikings both going to 3-0 in Cape Fear Valley cross country meets this season, on a sweltering afternoon for any sport Wednesday afternoon at Lee County's practice football and soccer fields.
Abby Verchick won the girls' race in 21:00 as the Lady Vikings prevailed by a 18-48 score over the Lady Yellow Jackets. Joeanna Kelly finished second in 22:55. Aubrey Wilder had the top Lady Jacket finish, coming in third in 25:13.
On the boys' side, junior Dalton Cox was the highlight of Lee County's meet as he won in a time of 18:23.
Viking runners took six of the next seven finishes to win the meet, 22-48. Vikings Ben White (19:51), Reagan Fedowitz (20:00) and Wade Benton (20:08) finished second, third and fourth respectively.
The losses were the first in CFVC or a dual meet this season for both Lee County teams (both 3-1) which are under the leadership of first-year head coach T.J. Bickert. Bickert was an assistant coach for the Yellow Jackets last season, so was familiar with the Jackets before becoming head coach.
The winning record so far is certainly good motivation. Working toward a meet such as the adidas Challenge coming up on Sept. 21 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary is another marker to work toward.
"The great part about an event like the adidas Challenge," Bickert said, "is all the kids on the team get to go, and compete, and there are so many teams and runners, it just amps you up about running."
WakeMed Soccer Park is an outstanding venue. Seeing all of the adidas and other running-oriented ads, products and companies which will be on hand can make for a unique experience, especially for many of the Yellow Jackets still fairly new to the sport, Bickert said.
The competitive goal is largely the same no matter the title or place of the race.
"We hoping everyone does their best and gets a better time from the previous week," Bickert said.
"Whether you improve by a little or a lot, improving a bit here and a bit there is all that matters to me," he said.
A large number of Yellow Jackets set new personal records in two Lee County victories versus Douglas Byrd in Fayetteville.
Cox led the Jackets on the clock Wednesday and he's a leader beyond his results, Bickert said. Many of the Jackets, especially the young newcomers, look up to Cox.
"I simply say, 'yes, but that's because he puts the work in,'" said Bickert.
He still has this season and a senior year to go but Cox should earn opportunities to run collegiately if he chooses to says his coach.
After his individual victory Wednesday, instead of finding some deserved shade, Cox was urging and cheering on teammates to finish strong.
Union Pines will host Southern Lee for a CFVC meet this coming Wednesday. The adidas Challenge is the next date on the Jacket schedule.
at Lee County
Boys - Union Pines 22, Lee County 48
Girls - Union Pines 18, Lee County 48
2. Ben White - 19:51
3. Reagan Fedowitz - 20:00
4. Wade Benton - 20:08
6. Jack Strickland - 20:22
7. Peter Whitehouse - 20:25
1. Dalton Cox - 18:23
5. Charlie Wright - 20:15
13. Alex Cranston - 21:10
14. Cole Garris - 21:53
15. Dylan Cox - 22:00
16. Corey Fox - 22:00
1. Abby Verchick - 21:00
2. Joeanna Kelly - 22:55
4. Erin Metcalf - 25:21
5. Danielle Wisen - 25:26
6. Hannah Phillips - 27:06
3. Aubrey Wilder - 25:13
7. Mitzy Salemron - 27:08
11. MacKenna Claffey - 30:56
13. Anna Beth Adcock - 31:21
14. Nicole Escobar - 31:25