When Jack Paddison was a rising freshman at Providence Day, his best friend Nick Linder talked him into running cross country for the first time for the Chargers.
Four years later, the Providence Day students have become two of the best runners in the state and share co-All Observer boys’ cross country runner of the year honors.
Paddison edged out Linder to win both the individual NCISAA 3A state championship (by 2.47 seconds) and the CISAA conference title (by six seconds) in an Observer-best time this season of 15:19 (3rd-best time in the state).
Meanwhile, Linder, who ran the second-best time in the Observer area this season at the conference championship (15:25; 5th-best time in the state), broke the 16-minute mark in every race this fall. Linder, the CISAA and NCISAA state runner-up, also won the Hare and Hounds Invitational.
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Linder committed to run at Harvard next season, while Paddison is still considering schools like Brown University and the University of North Carolina.
Providence Day cross country coach Ben Hovis takes home the Observer boys’ cross country coach of the year honors.
With Linder and Paddison leading the charge, Hovis guided the Charger boys’ team to their 5th straight NCISAA 3A state championship and 15th consecutive CISAA conference crown.
Hovis also led the Chargers’ girls’ cross country team to their 2nd straight NCISAA 3A title this season.
First Team All Observer
Jack Paddison, Providence Day, Sr.: Finished his Charger career in championship fashion, taking the CISAA and NCISAA 3A state championship with an Observer-area best 15:19 to win the conference title, being recruited by Brown and North Carolina.
Nick Linder, Providence Day, Sr.: Harvard commit was CISAA and NCISAA runner-up was the top runner in the area for the majority of the season and had a personal-best 15:25 at the conference meet.
Mitchell Resor, Weddington, Jr.: 3A Midwest champion was Southern Carolinas’ conference (SCC) runner-up and finished 3rd at states, running a personal-best 15:37 at the Wendys’ Invitational.
Alex Cornwell, Hickory Ridge, Jr.: Southern Piedmont conference runner-up also finished 3rd at 3A Midwest Regional, and 5th at 3A state meet, ran personal-best 15:40 at Wendys.
Ryan Hobbs, Weddington, Sr.: Ran personal-best 15:52.50 to win SCC title, also finishes 10th at 3A Midwest Regional and 8th the 3A state meet.
Jeremy Ricks, Fort Mill, Sr.: York County and Region III, 4A champion, finished 4th at S.C. AAAA Middle States, 34th at AAAA state meet, ran personal-best 15:53 at Wendys.
Tim Coffey, Mooresville, Sr.: 4A West Regional, North Piedmont conference champion finished 16th at 4A states and ran season-best 15:53 at Wendys.
Elijah Inuwa, Central Academy, Sr.: 2A Midwest Regional, Rocky River conference and Union County champion (in personal-best 15:52.80) also finished 3rd at 2A state meet.
Second Team All-Observer
Joey Teachout, Rock Hill, Fr.
Jack Ratterree, Charlotte Latin, Jr.
Chris Smith, Myers Park, Jr.
Fisher Ramsey, East Mecklenburg, Sr.
Ben Clark, Clover, Fr.
Jack Mastandrea, Lake Norman, Jr.
Jake Blizzard, Marvin Ridge, Sr.
Matthew Conner, Weddington, Jr.
Colton Jordan, Weddington, Jr.
Austin Hilburn, North Lincoln, So.
Joe Harbacevich, Myers Park, Sr.
Observer Boys’ Cross Country Co-Runners of the Year: Nick Linder, Providence Day and Jack Paddison, Providence Day.
Observer Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year: Ben Hovis, Providence Day.