High School Sports

Ravenscroft cross country’s Frazier runs roughshod over field Foot Locker South Regional

Raleigh Ravenscroft’s Ryen Frazier dominated a field of state champion and all-state runners from the Southeast while shattering the N.C. girls’ 5-kilometer record for McAlpine Park’s course Saturday at the Foot Locker South Regional cross country meet.

Frazier, who has committed to N.C. State, covered the course in 16 minutes, 27 seconds, the second-fastest time ever by a high school girl at McAlpine.The high school course and meet record of 16:26 was set in 2006 by Aurora Scott of Chesapeake, Va.

Frazier’s performance obliterated the N.C. best for the course by 48 seconds, eclipsing the mark of 17:15 set in 2011 by Raleigh Millbrook’s Samantha George.

After sticking with a pack of nine runners through the first half of the race, Frazier burst ahead and won by 20 seconds, ahead of Paige Hofstad of New Braunfels, who won the Texas 5A title in 2013 and was runner-up this season.

Four-time Kentucky 2A champ Gabriella Karas (Shelbyville Collins) and two-time Virginia 3A champ Libby Davidson (Lynchburg Glass) also broke 17 minutes, running 16:53 and 16:56, respectively.

“After I passed (the finish line), I saw my watch and saw 16:20-something and said, ‘Oh my God,’ ” said Frazier said, who said she gained confidence on Nov. 8 when she finished a 5K race under 17 minutes for the first time.

That meet started a string of personal bests. She ran 10:12.26 for 3,200 meters on Nov. 15 and 4:44.20 for the mile on Nov. 22.

“I really didn’t have that much confidence before that 5K,” Frazier said. “It’s like really a blessing that my dad had me run that 5K. I had it in me, I just didn’t know it at the time. I think it would have been harder for me today to stretch out from the pack if I hadn’t run something like that before.”

Frazier’s victory was only the fourth for a N.C. girl in the meet’s 36-year history, following Polk County’s Karen Godlock (1992), AshevilleRoberson’s Sarah-Vance Goodman (1996) and Asheville Carolina Day’s Laura Stanley (2001).

Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers who will compete at the national championships in San Diego on Dec. 13 were: Virginia 4A runner-up Weini Kelati (Leesburg Heritage), Virginia 3A runner-up Ciara Donohue (Loudon Valley), Georgia 1A champ Emma Grace Hurley (Roswell Fellowship Christian), N.C. 4A runner-up Kathleen Mansure (Watauga), six-time S.C. Independent Schools champ Logan Morris (Spartanburg Christian) and Abby Gray of Alamo (Texas) Heights.

“I thought I could be in the top 10, looking at what I thought my time could be and what the other times were last year,” said Mansure, who has committed to UNC Greensboro and became the fourth runner, and first girl, from Watauga to qualify for nationals. “But I didn’t want that to be my priority, so I wanted to view it more as a time race so that I wouldn’t get super nervous.”

In the boys’ race, two-time Virginia 3A champ and Virginia state meet record holder Andrew Hunter (Loudon Valley) also won big, beating two-time Texas champ (5A in 2014, 4A in 2013) Carter Blunt, 14:36 to 14:54.

Hunter’s time tied the fourth-fastest 5K ever by a high school boy at McAlpine and was 8 seconds off the course record of 14:28 set in 2012 by Sean McGorty of Fairfax (Va.) Chantilly.

“First priority was to win,” said Hunter, who had set the Virginia state meet record of 14:41 on Nov. 14. “I’m very pleased with my time.”

Hunter blazed through the first mile in 4:34 and began opening up a huge lead on the field by the two-mile mark.

“At two miles, I made a little look-back to see where they were, and I saw I had at least 10-15 seconds on them,” he said. “So, I was like, ‘OK, I have a pretty commanding lead, if I just keep running the pace I’m at, I’ll definitely be OK.’ ”

Tennessee 1A-2A champ Zach Long (Rutledge Grainger), two-time Oklahoma 6A champ Ben Barrett (Norman North), Virginia 4A champ Peter Seufer (Glass), and Anteneh Girma (Alexandria Williams) also broke 15 minutes, with Long and Barrett each running 14:58 and Seufer and Girma each running 14:59.

Rounding out the national qualifiers were: Virginia 3A runner-up Gannon Willcutts (Western Albemarle), Florida 3A runner-up Steven Cross (Merritt Island), 2013 Florida 4A champ Nicholas Diaz (Miami Sunset) and Texas 6A runner-up Alex Rogers (New Braunfels).