Wednesday, 02 December 2020 19:32

Lady Raiders earn second-straight win, record 5 PRs on home course

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All 6 of Richmond's runners run together in the opening mile of Wednesday's SAC meet. All 6 of Richmond's runners run together in the opening mile of Wednesday's SAC meet. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Entering Wednesday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference cross country meet, head coach Jessica Covington was concerned about the Lady Raiders’ ability to power through their second race in three days.

But Richmond’s runners eased their coach’s worries with another impressive performance, and captured the team’s second-straight win.

Using five personal records from their top five runners, the Lady Raiders were no match for Hoke County or Jack Britt high schools. Richmond secured the win by placing all of its qualifying runners in the top eight spots for 26 points.

Jack Britt earned second place with 38 points, and Hoke County only had four runners, not enough to qualify for a team score.

“It feels awesome to earn our second win of the season,” Covington said with a smile. “All of the girls have improved so much and running at home has been really nice, too. It’s a great day for our team.

“The five personal records show how much each of the girls is pushing during each race,” she added. “Running two races so close together was tough, but they all came out and didn’t let that stop them. I’m so pleased with how they did.”

Junior Maylyn Wallace has served as Richmond’s No. 1 runner in each of the four meets this season. Again she impressed Wednesday, finishing second overall with new personal record of 22:17. That time was 32 seconds faster than her previous record from the season opener at Scotland.

Sophomores Rylie Bohman and Sheccid Heaton have used one another as running partners this season, and the two crossed the finish line in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Both recorded new PRs, first was Bohman clocking in 24:16 and then Heaton at 25:32.

Bohman explained that she and Heaton rely on one another to push to a strong finish during races.

“I’m very excited to be able to record a new PR because I’ve never run this good since I started cross county four years ago (in middle school),” Bohman said. “Sheccid and I are such great friends when we’re not racing, but we have always been the person the other wants to beat.

“There’s a lot good that comes from that competitive nature,” she added. “Whether I’m ahead of her, or she’s ahead of me, there’s a competitive drive that makes us better. And that has helped this season.”

Covington noted that a welcomed bonus this season has been the effective pairing of freshmen Kaleigh Cloninger and Gabby Lutz. The two Lady Raiders anchored the win Wednesday, placing seventh and eighth overall.

Cloninger sprinted the final 100 meters to earn a time of 25:54, a new personal record that was 17 seconds faster than her first high school race. Lutz wasn’t far behind, crossing the finish line with a PR of 26:25. Since the first meet of the fall, Lutz has shaved 3:22 off her 3.2-mile time.

“I came out Monday and wanted to push myself harder at the beginning and try to keep up with some of our stronger runners,” Lutz said of her time. “I stuck with them for most of the race and that’s what I needed. I carried that over today. Starting and getting to a good pace is the hardest part for me.

“I think a lot about my feet and wanting to land on my heel,” she added of her strategy. “Our older runners show me where I can end up and that I can be as fast as them one day. They’re all great girls and great runners so I really look up to them.”

Richmond ran just six runners Wednesday, and senior Alena Craddock finished ninth overall with a time of 26:32.

The Lady Raiders will look to pick up their third win of the season next Wednesday when they race at Jack Britt High School. Pinecrest and Scotland will also compete and the meet will start at 3:20 p.m.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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