An impromptu cross country meet involving all four Wilkes County high schools took place Wednesday afternoon at Wilkes Central High School.
With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees and no wind, runners from all four schools turned in solid times in what served as a tune-up for next Tuesday’s preconference meet at Ashe County.
Wilkes Central headlined both of the individual races as Maddie Beard and Anthony Perales won the girls and boys races, respectively.
Beard, who finished her race in 23:07, headlined the Eagles in the girls team standings with 17 points while North Wilkes finished second with 45 points. Neither East Wilkes nor West Wilkes had enough runners to garner team scores.
Kaylin Bang — one of six Central harriers to finish top 10 — placed fourth while teammate Emily Pontzer took seventh with a time of 27:47, almost three minutes faster than the seventh-place finisher, North Wilkes’ Morgan Tribble.
Taylor Barlow and Kylee Cheek rounded out the Eagles’ five team scorers, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. Madison Frazier claimed a 10th-place finish.
Despite not earning a team score, Cardinal and Blackhawk runners turned in impressive performances.
As East Wilkes’ lone girls representative, Annika Bell finished second in 23:31 — a minute-and a-half faster than West Wilkes’ Carly Parsons (25:16).
Tessa Foster finished fifth (26:32) for the Blackhawks while Katelyn Cothren took 12th (33:34) while Abbie Taylor finished 19th.
In addition to Tribble, Reagan Jenkins just missed out on the top 10 as she finished 11th in 32:17. Anna Phillips, Halli Shumate and Allison Shumate took spots 16, 17 and 18, respectively.
While Perales and North Wilkes’ Keaton Hincher, who finished second in the race, competed on Wednesday, a trio of Wilkes County’s top runners — West Wilkes’ Austin Triplette and Nathan Hall, along with East Wilkes’ Preston Dowell — did not run in the meet due to injuries.
Triplette and Dowell were both state qualifiers for last year’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association championships. Hall was an All-Mountain Valley Athletic Conference honorable mention selection.
Despite the unavailability of Triplette and Hall, the Blackhawks won the boys’ meet with 35 points. All-MVAC selection Hunter Wayne paced West with a fourth-place finish while Brantley Duncan, Marc Gonzalez and Ben Flora took sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
Wesley Furr rounded out the Blackhawks’ team finishers with a 10th-place finish.
Braeden Foster complemented Viking teammate Hincher as he finished third and Wilkes Central’s Grant Stone rounded out the top five in 19:58, nearly three minutes ahead of the next fastest finisher.
Ariel Lagunas placed ninth in 23:56 while Noah South (15th) and Chase Richardson (16th) rounded out North Wilkes’ team score of 45 points. McQue Cejka and Corbin McLean took 17th and 18th, respectively.
Without Dowell, the Cardinals fielded just one runner in the boys race as Chance Mastin claimed a 19th place finish in 28:32.
In addition to Perales and Stone, Nick Hartley had an 11th place finish in 24:28 — just one second ahead of West Wilkes’ Matthew Anderson.
Matt Call took 13th for the Eagles while Adolpho Gaspar rounded the Eagles, who scored 49 points, with a 20th-place finish.
Note: Winners from each race were awarded a first-place medal while ribbons were given out to the top-seven finishers in each race.