In the last decade, Cabarrus County teams have established themselves as having some of the top cross country talent, having growing success at the regional and state levels.
Jay M. Robinson's boys and girls teams again led the way at the 3A state meet, both finishing in ninth place overall. The Bulldog girls were also 3A Midwest Regional runners-up, and the boys finished third.
The Bulldog girls won the South Piedmont Conference title, while A.L. Brown claimed the boys league crown.
Cabarrus News Runner of the Year: Tim Gruber, Cannon
Tim Gruber runs 70 to 75 miles per week. That hard work has translated into a lot of success over the last four seasons at Cannon School.
This year, he won four of his first seven races, running a personal-best 15:45.90 in that span before being slowed by inflammation in his legs late in the season.
That injury forced the two-time defending CISAA conference championship to sit out the conference meet and finish 26th at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A state meet. That was a disappointing finish, not quite up to his standards after he finished fourth at states in 2009 and fifth last year.
Gruber hopes to run at the University of Richmond next year.
Cabarrus News Coach of the Year: Brian Landis, A.L. Brown
Brian Landis has built a track record of helping his A.L. Brown teams - both on the cross country course and on the track - be competitive in the South Piedmont Conference and at the state level.
This year, Landis did that again with his Wonders boys team. They won the conference title by just four points over a strong Jay M. Robinson squad.
Landis got big contributions from senior Jose Navarette as well as juniors Timmy Hall, Max Chandler and Mason Forrest, who all finished in the top 12 at the SPC championship meet.
All-Cabarrus News boys' cross country team
Tim Gruber, Cannon: Senior ran a career-best 15:45.90 at Great American Independent Schools Championships.
C.J. Buck, Robinson: SPC champion, also sixth at regional meet (16:34), 30th at states.
McCann Sheridan, Robinson: Sophomore was third in the SPC, 12th at regional meet (16:53).
Andrew Fried, Robinson: Senior finished seventh at regionals with 16:39.
Jose Navarette, A.L. Brown: SPC title runner-up also led Wonders to league title. Finished 10th overall at regionals (16:47).
Gil Gilreath, Northwest Cabarrus: Sophomore was fifth at SPC, 14th at regionals with 17:03.
Taylor Page, Cox Mill: Junior finished eighth in SPC, 15th at 3A Midwest Regionals (17:05).
Michael Dilks, Mount Pleasant: Senior was fourth at SPC championships with 17:30.
Cabarrus News Runner of the Year: Natalie Andrejchak, Robinson
Natalie Andrejchak began the season not really knowing what to expect.
By the end of the season, the 14-year-old freshman, named the South Piedmont Conference Runner of the Year, has established herself as one of the best runners in the state with several national-elite times.
Andrejchak won the SPC championship (19:38) and claimed the 3A Midwest Regional title (19:38). She also was fourth at the 3A state meet (19:15.30). Her personal best came at the Weddington Invitational (18:36).
Andrejchak has a lot of room to grow, having three years left to improve upon her freshman performance.
Cabarrus News Coach of the Year: Justin Gutierrez, Robinson
Justin Gutierrez knew he would have a young Robinson girls cross country team coming into the year.
But Gutierrez and the Bulldogs didn't let their youth stop them from having a lot of success. The second-year coach led the Bulldogs to a second consecutive SPC title.
The Robinson girls also finished as 3A Midwest Regional runner-up to Marvin Ridge and posted a ninth-place finish at states.
All-Cabarrus News girls cross country team
Natalie Andrejchak, Robinson: Freshman vaulted into spotlight by winning SPC, 3A Midwest regionals.
Alyssa Lashway, Jay M. Robinson: Senior helped lead Bulldogs to SPC title as conference runner-up.
Brooke Johns, Jay M. Robinson: Sophomore was third at SPC championships, seventh at regionals.
Maddie Lowe, Northwest Cabarrus: Sophomore finished fourth at SPC, fifth at regionals (19:30).
Emma Hand, Northwest Cabarrus: Freshman impressed finishing eighth at SPC, 12th at regionals.
Natalie Tresslar, A.L. Brown: Senior led Wonders with seventh-place finish at SPC championships, 13th at regionals.
Erika Neese, A.L. Brown: Sophomore finished ninth at SPC meet, 27th at regionals.
Ashley Herrin, Hickory Ridge: Junior was sixth at the SPC conference meet, 28th at the regional meet.