Eliza Dekker ran to her second Durham City-County Cross Country Championships girls’ title in as many tries and was joined atop the winners’ podium by repeat boys’ winner Nikolaus Kreiling Tuesday.
Durham Academy’s Dekker, a junior who won the event as a freshman in 2011 but sat out last year, ran away from longtime rival and 2012 champion Hana Ratcliffe of Durham School of the Arts, beating her by a remarkable minute and 28 seconds — 18:52 to 20:16 — on the tough 5-kilometer DA cross country course.
Dekker and teammates Katie Concannon (3rd), Alice Ward (11th), Eliza Granger (13th) and Abby Breitfeld (17th) combined for a team-best 46 points and the team title over runner-up Jordan’s 63.
Kreiling, who finished 1-2 with Jordan teammate and training partner Daniel Beamer last year, duplicated the feat this time in 16:25, Beamer coming in next at 16:30.
Kreiling and Beamer led Jordan to a second straight team title as well. Temmates Matthew Blivin (4th), Greyson Meyer (12th) and Quinton Meyer (18th) rounded out the scoring for the Falcons, who squeaked by the N.C. School of Science & Mathematics 37-42 in the team race.
Kreiling was pleased with his title run and credited Beamer with pushing him throughout. “I wouldn’t have run nearly as fast without him (Beamer) pushing me,” Kreiling said. “I love training with him and having him running with me. We’re like one runner out there.”
Kreiling, Beamer and Blivin led a group of five Jordan runners who comprised the seven-man lead pack from the get-go and Falcons runners in their distinctive red singlets dominated throughout.
“They did a great job running up front,” Jordan boys’ cross country coach Mike Mulligan said. Mulligan added that the key to the win were standout personal performances by his fourth and final scorers, Greyson and Quinton Meyer.
“The brothers at 4 and 5 really stepped it up,” Mulligan said of the Meyers.
Dekker, one of the premier young distance runners in the state if not the nation, opened up a lead of about six seconds over Ratcliffe at the quarter-mile mark and those two were alone in front as the gap between No. 2 Ratcliffe and the next runner in the field was approaching 26 seconds. After the duo disappeared from view into the wooded part of the trail for the first of three woods loops, Dekker had pulled 37 seconds ahead of Ratcliffe and continued to move away throughout the rest of the race.
“I felt good the last mile,” said Dekker, who didn’t even appear particularly out of breath in the race’s aftermath, despite 80-degree heat. “I feel really good getting the win for my team, too.”
The team win was the first for the DA girls since 1998.
Finishing third in the boys’ individual race was Nicholas Walker of N.C. Science & Math, nine seconds back of Beamer and 14 behind Kreiling in 16:39. DA’s Concannon finished 2:23 behind Dekker and 55 seconds behind Ratcliffe to take third in the girls’ race.
Meet director and DA head coach Dennis Cullen said the times suffered a bit Tuesday from the warm weather — “Too bad. It’d been cool for a few days before this,” he said.
He said slower-than-normal times for the top runners weren’t totally attributable to the weather, though. “This is a tough course,” Cullen said. “Look at Kreiling. His personal best is 15:30 (actually 15:31) and he ginished nears 16:30.”
“It is a slow course anyway,” Beamer said. “It’s hilly and turn-y and a lot of other words ... It’s tough.”
Dekker’s personal best is 17:44, so she was well off her top pace as well.
Durham School of the Arts finished third in both the boys’ and girls’ races with 74 (boys) and 71 (girls) points.
NOTES — Nine boys’ teams and 10 girls’ teams from public and private schools in the county competed Tuesday, but not all of them are noted in the final results because several did not have enough runners to fill out the required five scoring slots. ... An oddity of this meet, which began in 1979, is that the trophies presented to the winning girls’ and boys’ teams are both named after coaches who are still active and participated in Tuesday’s meet. The John Gray Award, named for Jordan girls’ coach John Gray, was presented to Durham Academy, and the Dennis Cullen Award was presented to Jordan.
DURHAM CITY-COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP
Team finish — 1. Jordan 37; 2. N.C. Science & Math 42; 3. Durham School of the Arts 74; 4. Research Triangle 125; 5. Voyager Academy 134; 6. Riverside 136; 7. Durham Academy 137; 8. Trinity School of Durham & Chapel Hill 251.
Individuals (top 10 with times) — 1. Nikolaus Kreiling (J) 16:25; 2. Daniel Beamer (J)16:30; 3. Nicholas Walker (NCSSM) 16:39.00; 4. Matthew Blivin (J) 16:55; 5. Chatham Ellwanger (NCSSM) 17:00; 6. Josh Rees-Jones (NCSSM) 17:03; 7. Mitch Rees-Jones (NCSSM) 17:09; 8. Madison Daniel (RT) 17:16; 9. Patrick Lester (VA) 17:26; 10. Nik Silva (DSA) 17:30.
Individuals (Nos. 11-50) — 11. Hunter Scaggs (DSA); 12. Greyson Meyer (J); 13. Christopher Diaz (DSA); 14. Jordan Pierce (DA); 15. Cole Whetstone (R); 16. Michal Swepson (RT); 17. Thomas Little (DSA); 18. Quinton Meyer (J); 19. Tommy Monson (DA); 20. Eric Young (RT); 21. Duncan LeMay (NCSSM); 22. Lawton Kariher (VA); 23. Joey Kreiling (DSA); 24. Mitchell Slentz (J); 25. Romel Garcia (J); 26. Colton Lawson (N); 27. Steven Tulevech (NCSSM); 28. John Haase (R) ; 29. Jack McAdams (R); 30. Karl Von Zabern (DA); 31. Wyatt Blanchette (DSA); 32. David Vientimilla (R); 33. Luke Bennett (VA); 34. Brendan Kane (RT); 35. Zach Perry (VA); 36. Javier Aguilar (R); 37. Ian Concannon (DA); 38. Alfredo Ellzey (VA); 39. Gary Ford (VA); 40. Charles Maxfield (DA); 41. Thomas Andrews (NCSSM); 42. Will Beischer (DA); 43. Marlin Oliver (R); 44. Cole Barnhill (R); 45. Josh Glazer (VA); 46. John Woodbridge (DSA); 47. Trey Barnes (DA); 48. Jay Kowalski (TSD&CH); 49. Spencer Jones (RT); 50. Harrison Czajkowski (TSD&CH).
Team finish — 1. Durham Academy 45; 2. Jordan 63; 3. Durham School of the Arts 71; 4. N.C. School of Science & Mathematics 102; 5. Riverside 124; 6. Voyager Academy 222; 7. Northern 237; 8. Trinity School of Durham & Chapel Hill 299.
Individuals (top 10 with times) — 1. Eliza Dekker (DA) 18:52; 2. Hana Ratcliffe (DSA) 20:16; 3. Katie Concannon (DA) 6:49.1 21:11; 4. Leland MacDonald (R) 21:20; 5. Eryn Clark (J) 21:21; 6. Rachel Geoffrion (J) 22:11; 7. Iris Lopez (R) 22:15; 8. Destiny Stevons (DSA) 22:29; 9. Kalin Fraker (J) 22:29; 10. Kim Ngo (NCSSM) 22:30.
Individuals (Nos. 11-50) — 11. Alice Ward (DA); 12. Riley Reid (NCSSM); 13. Eliza Granger (DA); 14. Genevieve Rella (DSA); 15. Ash Lamoreaux (Carolina Friends); 16. Anna Kenan (Carolina Friends); 17. Abby Breitfeld (DA); 18. Mia Kaplan (DSA); 19. Madden Brewster (NCSSM); 20. Mary Gates Pierce (DA); 21. India Price (J); 22. Beth Armacost (J); 23. Lani Foglesong (VA); 24. Olivia Bruekner (VA); 25. Colleen Scott (J); 26. Zoe Lindsey-Mills (Carolina Friends); 27. Taylor Grissom (J); 28. Meg Van Horn (R); 29. Grace Rogers (DSA); 30. Laura Goodman (NCSSM); 31. Emily Lambeth (NCSSM); 32. Carolyn Drewry (DA); 33. McKenna Reed (NCSSM); 34. Liddy Vientimilla (R); 35. Kayla Lemione (N); 36. Carli Reo (VA); 37. Kaleigh Roe (J); 38. Maggie Wielgus (J); 39. Fiona Sherman-Huntoon (DSA); 40. Ayla Griffin (N); 41. Rivka Grossinger (DSA); 42. Leah LeClair (J); 43. Risper Ochieng (J); 44. Lily Anderson (DA); 45. Libby Dondero (TSD&CH); 46. Sam Armistead (J); 47. Ashley Low (TSD&CH); 48. Alexis Knok (NCSSM); 49 .Meagan Saunders (J); 50. Mary Van Buren (NCSSM).