NEWBERRY – All season long the Catawba Ridge boys’ cross-country has quietly been a strong team. On Friday, they showed just how strong.
The Copperheads won the 4A state championship at the Newberry College cross-country course scoring 113 points lead by three top 15 finishers leading the way for the school. Bluffton was second with 125 points.
The title was the third state championship for the school and the third in this calendar year.
Coming into the race, Catawba Ridge was coming off a state qualifying win by just eight points over Greenville, as the two teams were expecting to have a showdown between for the title. However, that didn’t happen as Greenville finished fifth.
Still Catawba Ridge prepared to battle with Greenville.
“I told them not to do anything different,” said Matt Osmulski, Catawba Ridge cross-country head coach. “The whole year it has been us and Greenville.”
Last year, the Catawba Ridge boys’ team finished eighth in the state meet, but took a big step forward this year.
“Cross country is a weird sport where anything can happen,” Osmulski said. “Where we finished last year, we made a jump. When you have a good group of kids, anything is possible.”
Catawba Ridge was led by Max Conetta with a seventh-place finish in 16:38, followed by Ryan Pierson in 10th in 16:42 and Jordan Kent in 13th in 16:43. All three made the All-State team as they all finished in a pack.
Aiden Rogers was 33rd for the Copperheads in 17:28 and Brady Laurin was 66th in 18:10 to round out the scoring for Catawba Ridge.
In the girls’ race, Catawba Ridge finished 14th overall with 330 points.
Leading the Copperheads was Isabella Cardozo in 20th in 20:16, followed by Kaelyn Kellogg in 72nd in 22:33 and Alexandra Cardozo in 80th in 22:47. Zadie Wilkerson was 82nd in 22:54 and Peyton Pierson was 96th in 24:02.
The James Island girls team won the 4A state title with 43 points. Greenville was second with 95 points.
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @fortprep