HS notes: Rockets rise to occasion at regional

HS notes: Rockets rise to occasion at regional


HS notes: Rockets rise to occasion at regional




Western North Carolina only produced three regional champions at last weekend’s NCHSAAA regional cross-country meets.

No one in that trio left less margin for error than the Reynolds girls.

The Rockets (21 points) were only six shy of a perfect score in winning the 3-A Western Regional meet in Morganton.

“It was a pretty amazing day for us,” Reynolds coach Allie Hustead said. “The girls really rose to the occasion, and they deserved this.”

Hustead has since dug into the school archives to try and find the last regional-championship team for the Rockets, but to no avail.

Her scoring runners Saturday were individual winner Anna Vess (18 minutes, 14.37 seconds), as well as Larissa Wood (second place, 19:03.12), Kenzie Himelein-Wachowiak (third, 19:16.16), Samantha Boeshore (seventh, 20:08.97) and Lana Reeves (10th, 20:46.16).

Hustead hopes her team can be in the mix for another championship Saturday when the NCHSAA 3-A meet takes place in Kernersville (just east of Winston-Salem).

“The last time we ran this course, we had girls with personal record by 40 seconds,” Hustead said.

“I’m not expecting that at all, but I really think Anna Vess has a really good chance of winning the whole thing.

“My number one goal has always been to make sure the girls on this team enjoy running, and it’s been a great group to coach. It looks like the weather (for Saturday) will be great, and, hopefully, it will be a fast day for everyone.”

Reynolds was also the MAC 3-A champion with 40 points, coming in second to overall winner Roberson (26).

Blue Devils go 2-3 at regional meet

Longtime Brevard girls cross-country coach Jackie Witherspoon will only be taking two athletes to Saturday’s 2-A meet, but one of them is very familiar.

Witherspoon’s daughter, Eliza, was the WNC Athletic Conference runner of the year as a freshman. The runner-up at the WNCAC meet was junior Aly Pagano.

Eliza Witherspoon came in second at Saturday’s 2-A Western Regional meet in Morganton with a time of 19:22.60, followed by Pagano (20:00.16) in third place.

“Team-wise, the season didn’t go the way we had planned,” Jackie Witherspoon said.

“Our number three, four and five runners all had some health issues. Eliza took some time to adjust, but she has really run well. Aly ran a smart race at regionals, she was in 10th place at the 2-mile mark and then caught everybody.”

Norman joins Christ School staff

Former Asheville High boys basketball coach Tiger Norman has joined the staff at Christ School as an assistant.

Norman coached the Cougars to an 81-31 record from 2006-11 and his 2007-08 team gave the program its first sectional championship since 1989.

Before that, Norman had been part of the coaching staff for the Asheville girls’ run at three consecutive NCHSAA 3-A championships (2003, 2004 and 2005).

Norman was an assistant the past two years at Warren Wilson, which won the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association championship last season.

Ballard, Kania top state leaders lists

Two WNC sophomores look as though they will finish as state leaders in volleyball statistical categories compiled by MaxPreps.

Asheville Trailblazers defensive specialist Katie Kania accumulated the most kills (133) of any North Carolina 10th-grade player at her position and also had the third-most digs (191).

North Buncombe libero Morgan Ballard ranked No. 1 in digs (426).

Only teams that keep their stats through MaxPreps are part of the website’s lists.


More USA TODAY High School Sports