Freshman is WNC's 1st state champion

Freshman is WNC's 1st state champion

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Freshman is WNC's 1st state champion

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Carolina Day freshman Ralene Kwiatkowski was bold from the very beginning.

Her cross country coach, Mark Driscoll, recalled Friday a conversation he had with the ninth grader prior to her first high school 5-K race — the Buncombe County meet on Sept. 4 at Asheville Christian Academy.

“Ralene said she wanted to run (in the 18-minute range),” Driscoll said.

“From that point on, she said she was going to try and win. She has that kind of attitude, and it’s pretty cool to work with someone who is a gamer from the start.”

Kwiatkowski was runner-up at last month’s Buncombe meet but was one place better Friday, winning the NCISAA 2-A meet in 18 minutes and 51 seconds at Greensboro’s Hagan Stone Park.

The Asheville Christian Academy girls took home the 2-A team championship for the second consecutive year.

“There was a girl from Cary Christian and I stayed on her shoulder for the first 600 meters or so,” Kwiakowski said. “After that I never looked back.”

Kwiatkowski is also a basketball player whose family lives in the Enka/Candler area, and said that in the future she will try to balance her basketball and cross country/track obligations.

“She won this state meet by a ton,” Driscoll said. “There’s no doubt she is a complete athlete.”

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