Highlands hosts Summit for preseason cross country scrimmage

Long-distance runners from Highlands and Summit Charter schools laced up their sneakers for a preseason cross country scrimmage on Saturday in Highlands.

Highlands boys and girls teams ended up taking first place running the approx. two-mile course with the fastest race times.

From left are Highlands Claire Worley, Cayden Pierson, and Summit Mary Boswell at a scrimmage cross country meet at Highlands School on Saturday.

Highlands Coach Derek Taylor said a scrimmage is not an official meet, but a warmup for the conference opener that took place yesterday at Swain.

Summit Chance Wilson earned the top overall male runner finishing with the fastest time of the day.

Summit Coach Gretchen Kapity said they were missing a chunk of their team on Saturday with three boys and one girl who could not attend. For the Summit girls who did attend, it was their first time competing in a cross country race and Kapity said they did a great job.

Summit Lydia Hughes competed in her first cross country competition on Saturday hosted by Highlands School.

“We have a great, young team this year,” said Kapity. “I am excited that we get to run at all and am already looking forward to track in the spring!”

This year’s cross country season began about three months later than usual because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Francisco Gooch making his way to the finish line at a preseason cross country scrimmage in Highlands.

Teams could not officially begin practicing until Nov. 4; and coaches, athletes, support staff, and media all must adhere to clearly defined guidelines from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in order to participate.

Kapity said the 2020 season will not include as many meets as a regular season, but runners are looking on the bright side and enjoying the cooler weather.

Wylie Hoffman on the last leg of the course that finishes up on the Highlands track.

Highlands Cayden Pierson crosses the finish line at Saturday’s cross country scrimmage on Saturday.

Summit Sidney Sinclair settles into a comfortable rhythm towards the start of the race.

Highlands Leela Chrestman cheered on by her teammates heading towards the finish line.

And with a chorus of cheers from her teammates, Highlands Leela Chrestman finishes strong.

Highlands Jim de la Cruz de la Dios settles into a comfortable rhythm.

Summit Mary Boswell makes her way around the Highlands soccer field on Saturday.

Highlands Stephen Pierson picks up the pace during the final stretch on Saturday’s scrimmage.

Highlands Nicole Taylor rounds the last turn of the race on Saturday.

Summit Lauch Young maintaining a steady pace and he passes Highlands Middle School building.

Highlands Claire Worley earned the fastest time amongst female runners on Saturday.

From left are Summit Lydia Hughes, Mary Boswell, and Sidney Sinclair at a cross country scrimmage in Highlands.

Highlands Birdie Sherwood digs deep to finish the race strong.

Highlands Leela Chrestman maintained a stone cold, all business, and totally focused demeanor for almost the entire race, then she passed some of her cheering fans and cracked a smile.

Highlands Margaret Cole making her way through the start of the race in Highlands on Saturday.

Top male finishers.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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