In the last decade, the Lake Norman area has produced some of the state's best runners, especially in cross country with East Lincoln, Hopewell and Mooresville receiving most of the attention.
This year, East Lincoln's boys' cross country did everything but defend their state title, while Lake Norman Charter reached new heights for both the boys and girls' teams.
Lake Norman News boys' Coach of the Year: Melvin Morrison, East Lincoln
The only thing harder than winning a state championship is defending one and East Lincoln cross country coach Melvin Morrison came very close. The Mustangs won the 2A West Regional meet, something even last year's state title team didn't, and came up just short at states, finishing second overall behind Carrboro.
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Morrison also led his team to another Southern Piedmont conference title along the way.
Lake Norman News boys' Runner of the Year: Dylan Belles, East Lincoln
The Mustang senior finished among the top runners in both the 2A West regional and state meets, running an average of under 5:30 per mile.
Belles finished third at the 2A West regional to lead his team to victory. At the state meet, Belles ran a 16:41.52 to finish fourth overall and nearly led the Mustangs to second straight state title.
All-Lake Norman News boys' cross country team
Dylan Belles, East Lincoln: Mustangs' senior leader finished fourth at the 2A state meet.
Brather Cline, East Lincoln: Senior was less than two seconds behind teammate at states (16:43.17).
Jordan Phillips, Lake Norman Charter: Fifth at states to lead talented team (16:44.00)
Erik Foran, Lake Norman Charter: Like Phillips, a top 10 state finisher (ninth: 16:51.63).
Chris Hack, Lake Norman Charter: Another talented Knight runner, who finished 13th at states.
Michael Rupinski, Lake Norman: Finished second at the I-Meck championships with a 16:38.
Jimmy Bonds, Davidson Day: Patriots' leader finished third at states.
Lake Norman News girls' Coach of the Year: Craig Zamiara, Lake Norman Charter
The Knights' cross country program has been good in the past, but this season, coach Craig Zamiara and company took it to new heights as the Knights' boys and girls' programs finished amongst the top three in the state.
The girls did just a little better, finishing second overall, only two points behind state champion Hendersonville.
Zamiara did it with a talented, but young team. Sarah Hardin, Stephanie Zaino, Bethany Johnson (the only senior in the group), Lauren Swift and Bridgette Siemon all finished in the top 40 at the state meet.
Lake Norman News girls' Runner of the Year: Jenny Gallagher, Lake Norman
Although Jenny Gallagher finished 77th overall in her final cross country meet, the Lake Norman senior, who won the 2009 state cross country meet, did just about everything else in her Wildcat career.
Gallagher, a senior, had a great season as she won her third straight Iredell County cross country title and finished in fist place at the I-Meck Conference championships.
All-Lake Norman News girls' cross country team
Jenny Gallagher, Lake Norman: I-Meck champ won third straight Iredell County title.
Taylor Sweet, Lake Norman: Solid 33rd-place finish at states (19:33.42).
Sarah Hardin, Lake Norman Charter: Sophomore finished fourth at state meet.
Stephanie Zaino, Lake Norman Charter: Another sophomore, finished 14th at state meet.
Bethany Johnson, Lake Norman Charter: Senior stabilized a talented, but young Knights' team.
Marni Krehnbrink, East Lincoln: Senior finishes 11th overall at 2A state meet.
Rachel Bringewatt, Davidson Day: Impressive freshman finished 13th at the state meet.