The Fort Mill boys cross country team shown here are ranked No. 1 in 5A and are contenders for a state title.

While one team is reaching new heights this season, another individual is continuing to set the bar higher and higher.

Fort Mill boys’ cross-country team was recently named the No. 1 team in 5A coming off winning the Lake Murray Invitational and beating Lexington, which could be a preview of the 5A state championship later this year.

The Jackets have put together an impressive season so far having won at Lake Murray last Saturday, but also winning the Trojan Invitational and finishing second in the Eye Opener in Spartanburg to start the season off on a good note.

The Fort Mill girls’ team is ranked fifth in 5A and could be a contender come the state finals, where a location still hasn’t been named yet.

Catawba Ridge is ranked second in the 4A boys behind Greenville, but one thing that Copperheads have that Greenville doesn’t is Sam Rich. Rich, who committed to the University of Notre Dame late last month, recently set the fastest time in the country in the 5K winning the Southern Showcase in Huntsville, Ala. with a time of 14:38 Saturday. That time of 14:38 was just 1.71 seconds off the fastest time in the history of cross-country in South Carolina, held by Hilton Head’s David Adams set in 1999 with a time of 14:37.

“I felt strong heading into the race,” Rich said. “My summer training had gone well, so I was excited to get to race on a great course. I was super happy with my time and the win. Having the fastest 5K time in the country right now is really awesome, but I’m still focused on working hard to win the state championship and place top five at nationals in December.”

The rest of the Catawba Ridge boys were running in the Lake Muray Invitational where they finished fifth as a team, with only 5A schools ahead of them in the top four.

The Copperheads should be contenders for the 4A state title come November. Their girls’ team is also ranked 10th in the state as well and finished 20th out of 33 teams at Lake Murray.

The Nation Ford girls are ranked 12th and the boys are ranked 13th in the state in 5A. The Falcons boys’ team recently finished third at the Hare and Hound cross country meet at McAlpine Park in Charlotte last Saturday. The girls squad finished 14th in the event as a team.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep

Catawba Ridge’s Sam Rich recently ran the fastest time in the country in a 5K race.