CONCORD – Led by Bryce Anderson, the Hickory Ridge boys cross country team won their first Cabarrus County Cross Country Championships title since 2014 Tuesday at Frank Liske Park.
Anderson, a junior, won the individual championship with a time of 17 minutes, 39 seconds, and Hickory Ridge won by 14 points over second-place Cox Mill (47).
Northwest Cabarrus (108) edged A.L. Brown (109) for third place. Central Cabarrus (122) finished in fifth place, followed by Mount Pleasant (155), Jay M. Robinson (161) and Concord (216).
Anderson knew going into the meet that he had a chance to win, with the times that he’d run this season. He said preparation was the key for the Bulls going into the county competition.
“We have a good training schedule, and it’s paying off,” said Anderson.
Anderson and Cox Mill junior Alex Garcia (18:01) led the pack for most of the race and had a change of position late that ended up holding as the final result.
Anderson was able to maintain a steady pace behind Garcia for almost 2 miles at the start of the race. He then took first place, passing Garcia late and adding some space in between as he crossed the finish line.
“I just took it too fast,” Garcia said of the first 2 miles. “I’m happy; I just want more. I’m very determined to get what I want, and that’s first place.”
Hickory Ridge had four of the meet’s top 10 finishers. Julian Mendoza (18:18) came in third, Dylan Lamb (18:37) came in sixth, and Santiago Sa ́las (19:16) was 10th.
Onesimo Rosas (18:22) of A.L. Brown and Lincoln Baxter (18:33) of Mount Pleasant finished out the top five in fourth in fifth place.
The county title is the first for coach Jennifer Schmidt, as her Bulls overtook the two-time defending champion Chargers.
“I knew they had it in them; I felt it,” Schmidt said of her runners. “They were all healthy today and ran well. That’s what it takes. You’ve got to run well on hot days and be prepared.”
Hot, it was. The temperature for the start of the boys race was above 90 degrees, and the sun was beaming in the direction of the start and finish lines. All of the teams fought through the hot conditions for strong runs, with the Bulls getting the best out of their times.
The Chargers seemed excited at the opportunity to run against the teams present and matchup against the 4A Bulls.
“We’ve got this meet for the county, and then we’ve got Wendy’s Invitational on Saturday,” said Chargers coach Tiffany Ramsey. “So I think a lot of them are looking forward to that and knowing that our conference championships are coming soon, and this is a chance for them to push it and get used to running in these conditions again.”
Excluding Concord, all the teams that competed in Tuesday’s county meet will see each other again this Saturday at the Wendy’s Invitational at McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte.