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High School Cross Country

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High School Cross Country: Providence Day boys on track to keep juggernaut running

By Jay Edwards
Correspondent

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    Observer-area cross-country athletes to watch

    BOYS

    Nick Linder, Providence Day, Sr.: Chargers standout looks to finish one spot higher after CISAA conference and NCISAA 3A state runner-up (personal-best 15:34.92) finishes in 2013.

    Jack Paddison, Providence Day, Sr.: Another all-state performer for Chargers took 3rd at CISAA conference championships, 4th at NCISAA 3A states.

    Alex Cornwell, Hickory Ridge, Jr.: South Piedmont Conference (SCC) champion, also took 4th at Midwest Regional (personal-best 15:43), 14th at 3A state meet.

    Jake Blizzard, Marvin Ridge, Sr.: Mavericks standout was 3rd at Southern Carolinas’ conference meet, 5th at Midwest Regional (personal-best 15:44), 15th at 3A states.

    Tim Coffey, Mooresville, Sr.: United Way Invitational champion in personal-best 15:46, also 3rd at 4A West Regional last season.

    Jack Ratterree, Charlotte Latin, Jr.: Ran personal-best 15:47 at Foot Locker Southeast Regional, also took 5th at NCISAA 3A state meet.

    Ryan Hobbs, Weddington, Sr.: SCC runner-up finished 7th at 3A Midwest Regional (personal-record 15:54).

    GIRLS

    Grace Sullivan, Providence, Sr.: 4A West Regional champion finished 5th at 4A states, ran personal-best 17:38 at Foot Locker Southeast Regional.

    Lexi King, Marvin Ridge, So.: Sophomore for Mavericks was SCC champion, 3A Midwest Regional champion (personal-record 17:52) and 5th at 3A state meet as a freshman.

    Mary Prouty, Myers Park, Sr.: SW4A champions, ran personal-best 18:02 to finish 5th at 4A West Regional, also took 13th at 4A state meet.

    Kayla Glova, Providence, Jr.: Another Panthers standout ran a personal-best 18:18 to finish 6th at 4A West Regional, also took 10th at 4A states.

    Malia Ellington, Community School of Davidson, Sr.: Defending 1A state champion ran a personal-best 18:20.70 at Frosh/Soph Invitational last season.

    Brittany Stanley, Mount Pleasant, Jr.: 2A state runner-up (personal-best 18:20.96) also 2A Midwest Regional runner-up as a sophomore.

    Emma Brown, Providence Day, Sr.: CISAA conference champion in personal-best 18:32, also took 5th at NCISAA 3A state meet.



The Providence Day boys’ cross country team has built quite the tradition.

Coach Ben Hovis and his Chargers boys have won seven of the last nine NCISAA Class 3A state titles, including the past four years (2010-2013).

Providence Day has also won 14 straight CISAA conference championships.

While all-state runners after all-state runners are a big key to their success, Hovis and his coaching staff, including assistants John Compton and Randy Sienkowski, have also been a constant in the Chargers’ championship runs.

The fact that Hovis (1996) and Compton (2004) are both Providence Day graduates who once ran in the program, and Sienkowski has been on the staff for the last 14 years, makes them understand just what means to be a part of the tradition.

“We (coaches) take even more pride in this program because we all have so much invested over the years,” said Hovis, in his 13th year as the head coach at the school. “It’s a great tradition to be part of because all of the kids care so much and pass down what they’ve learned to the younger guys each year. That success had bred more success. Our kids really take that seriously and they know how hard you have to work to be a champion.”

Providence Day is again loaded with experience and talent, beginning with senior Nick Linder, who was CISAA conference and state runner-up last year (in personal-best 15 minutes, 34.92 seconds), behind only former teammate Ben Huffman, now running at Harvard.

Linder not only hopes to breakthrough as the conference and state champion, but also make it to the Foot Locker Nationals in December.

Senior Jack Paddison will also be a key runner as he finished third at the CISAA conference championships and fourth at the states, the latter in a personal-best 15:45. Paddison has a renewed focus as a senior, which should allow him to be even faster, according to Hovis.

Seniors William Glenn and Chad Matthews should also be key pieces, while rising freshman Noah Dolhare, a transfer from Charlotte Country Day, is expected to have an immediate impact for the Chargers.

But before the season gets started, Hovis, Linder and Paddison have made sure everyone on the team knows exactly what Providence Day cross country, dubbed “PDXC Pride” by Hovis, means to the them all.

“Providence Day cross country is more of a brotherhood than a team,” said Linder, a Division I cross country and track recruit, earlier this summer. “Something that Coach Hovis always talks about is: ‘What does Providence Day cross country mean to you?’ As a leader on this team, I take responsibility for that and make sure all our guys know we are running for yourself, but also for the school, the team and we all want to keep this great tradition going strong.”

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