Union County

Weddington, loaded with talent, ranked No. 3 in N.C. cross-country

Mitchell Resor is shown here winning the 3A Midwest Cross Country Regional. Resor comes into this season ranked as on of N.C.’s best in prep cross-country.
Mitchell Resor is shown here winning the 3A Midwest Cross Country Regional. Resor comes into this season ranked as on of N.C.’s best in prep cross-country. COURTESY OF DOUG HAGUE

The first race of Mitchell Resor’s Weddington High School career didn’t go the way he planned.

Resor, who had established himself as one of the top middle school runners in Union County at Weddington Middle, finished well off his usual pace in 21 minutes, 19 seconds at the home meet, as he struggled with stomach issues. Resor would end up going to the hospital after the race and learning he had a stomach ulcer.

“That definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to start, but I didn’t let it get me down,” Resor said. “But I am one of the most competitive people I know at everything, whether I’m running, playing a video or eating or whatever. So I knew I just had to get back out there and keep working hard.”

In his next race, at the Weddington Invitational three weeks later, Resor shaved nearly three minutes off his previous time to finish at 18:40, good for fifth in an elite field.

He has spent most of the rest of his Weddington cross-country and track career running at the head of the pack.

Going into his senior season at Weddington, Resor, 17, is the top returning class 3A runner in the state. He ran a personal-best 15:37 last year at the prestigious Wendys’ Invitational, finishing fourth. Whether he is running cross-country, indoor or outdoor track, Resor has established himself as state contender in nearly every distance race.

In the last calendar year, Resor finished third at the 2014 NCHSAA 3A state cross country meet, and state runner-up honors in the 1,000- and 1,600-meter races indoors.

The all-state Weddington runner also showed his versatility outdoors last spring when he finished third at the 3A state meet at 1,600 meters and took sixth in the 3,200 meters at the same meet.

“Mitchell is capable of winning every time he gets to that line,” said Weddington cross-country coach Rick Spencer. “But it’s not just about his running. Mitchell is also committed to his nutrition, his hydration and getting the right amount of sleep. When you have a guy that works as hard as Mitchell does and then also does all the little things, it gives him a huge advantage. That has all been a big reason why he has been so consistent.”

Resor, 5-foot-11 and 135 pounds, worked as hard as ever this summer, putting in nearly 600 miles.

Part of that training involved a weekend with three of the state’s best returning runners, including Weddington teammate Matthew Conner, Hickory Ridge senior Alex Cornwell and Carson High senior Zach Marchinko.

All four likely will vie for the 3A state title Oct. 30; however, for three days this summer in Cherokee, they enjoyed working together, from their daily 7-miles run to hiking and tubing.

“We’ve all been close since our sophomore years, hanging out at cross-country and track meets year round,” said Resor, who won the 3A Midwest Regional in cross-country beating Marchinko (second) and Cornwell (third). “But to spend a weekend running together this summer was really cool. We were already joking around about who is going to win the state championship.

“Of course, once we step on that line to compete, we all know it’s going to be super competitive.”

While Resor’s goals include winning an individual 3A state title, he admits he is most focused on his Weddington team.

Resor said the opportunity to run with his teammates, one of the most talented rosters in the state, is a big reason for his success.

The Warriors, ranked No. 3 in state according to ncrunners.com’s preseason poll, are led by a group of seniors including Resor, Conner, Colton Jordan, Alex Hazan and Jackson Bivens.

“I’m not even the best runner on my team every day,” Resor said. “That is what makes our team so good and what continues to drive all of us to get faster. We all want to be No. 1.”

The seniors, who helped lead the Warriors to a 3A state cross-country title as sophomores, hope to get back on top after finishing as state runner-up to Cardinal Gibbons last year.

Weddington also wants to qualify for the Nike Cross National championships in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 5.

To do that, the Warriors must finish in the top two at the Nike Cross Southeast Regional in Cary on Nov. 28.

“Everyone on our team is focused on being at their best this year so we can have a chance to win states and go to nationals,” Resor said. “Getting to nationals would be a great way to finish our Weddington careers together.”

Resor is focused on playing his part. This summer he ran a 9:38 in a recent 2-mile time trial, missing his personal record of 9:23.23 but nearly 40 seconds faster than he ran at the same time last year.

“I’ve been watching him since the seventh grade and no matter what he accomplishes, he just keeps working to get better,” Spencer said. “Nothing that he accomplishes will surprise me. He’s put in the work and it has paid off.”

Resor also hopes his work will pay off with an opportunity to run in college and hopes to run at either the University of North Carolina or N.C. State next year.

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: jedwardsjr23@gmail.com.

Union County boys’ cross-country

Other Union County Boys’ Cross Country Runners to watch:

▪ Matthew Conner, Weddington, Sr.: Defending 3A outdoor, 3,200-meter state champion part of a Warriors roster with four runners in top 27 returners in the state, including Resor (No. 3), Colton Jordan (No. 25) and Alex Hazan (No. 27).

▪ Alec Merrill, Central Academy, Sr.: Finished 10th at 2A state meet, fifth at 2A Midwest Regional last year.

▪ Will Cachine, Cuthbertson, Sr.: Ran a personal-best 16:43 to finish 18th at the 2A Midwest Regional, will lead Cavaliers with classmate Grant Wood.

▪ Jacob Lipsey, Marvin Ridge, Jr.: Part of a talented Mavericks class with classmate Mack Despard and senior Roark Habegger.

▪ Tate Johnson, Metrolina Christian, Fr.: Top rising ninth-grader in NCISAA by 1 minute, 40 seconds (17:07.6); first eighth-grader to win the Metrolina Athletic conference title as a middle-schooler.

Key dates

▪ 41st Annual Wendy’s Invitational: Oct. 3 at McAlpine Park.

▪ 4A West Regional, 3A Midwest Regional: Oct. 31 at McAlpine Park.

▪ 2A West Regional: Oct. 30 at Jackson Park in Hendersonville.

▪ NCISAA Championships: Oct. 30 at McAlpine Park.

▪ NCHSAA Championships: Nov. 7 at Redmond Park in Kernersville.