WENDELL — Cross-country teams from Pinecrest and Southview high schools dominated the fourth annual Early Bird Invitational, held at Wendell Park on Aug. 24 and hosted by East Wake.
Eighteen high schools produced more than 400 athletes who competed, making it the largest field in the history of the event.
The invitational consisted of four 5K races: open and championship races for both boys and girls. The championship races consisted of the top seven athletes from each team. Team scores were kept for schools with at least five athletes in a given race.
Boys events: Southview (16:39.38 average) took first out of the 10 teams in the boys championship race. West Johnston (17:56.04) was second, followed by Garner (18:04.17), Research Triangle (18:14.46), Knightdale (18:45.45), Riverside (18:35.79), Corinth Holders (19:43.81), J.H. Rose (19:43.53), Clayton (20:30.55) and Cleveland (20:31.61). East Wake had only three runners in the championship race and didnt qualify for a team score.
West Johnstons Kyle Christ (16:55.07) placed sixth and Garners Justin Burkey (17:08.69) placed eighth.
Knightdale runners John Loesch (17:15.03), Christian Ray (17:20.11) and Ian Mbogo (17:31.65) swept positions nine through 11, respectively. Wests Adam Greco (17:34.08) took 12th place and his teammate Zachery Sparks (17:38.95) finished 13th.
Corinth Holders Bailey Blackwell placed 16th with a time of 18:01.19, and Garner runners Jose Rosas and Josh Talamantes were not far behind. Rosas (18:02.29) finished 17th, while Talamantes (18:09.27) placed 20th.
Southview completed a sweep of the boys races with a 19:10.97 average in the 10-team boys open. The rest of the standings fell in order of Nash Central (19:37.46), Corinth Holders (20:18.03), Harnett Central (22:33.69), Riverside (21:33.02), J.H. Rose (21:46.90), Cleveland (22:52.61), Clayton (23:18.32), Research Triangle (23:48.77) and Garner (23:25.89).
Corinth Holders Anthony Mercado (19:07.84) placed fifth and Austin Carroll (19:45.78) placed 11th.
Girls events: Pinecrest (20:23.15 average) finished atop the 12-team girls championship standings and was trailed by Southview (21:23.45), West Johnston (22:26.08), Corinth Holders (22:59.22), Clayton (23:12.14), J.H. Rose (25:12.95), Riverside (25:17.98), Harnett Central (25:34.41), Knightdale (26:41.77), Cleveland (27:43.12), Rolesville (29:05.24) and East Wake (31:38.97).
Arden Vessie of Corinth Holders posted the fastest girls time of the day at 19:16.78, while West Johnstons Becky Meshaw (19:52.05) was second-fastest.
Knightdale got a top-20 finish from Aleena Cruz, who took 18th with a time of 22:40.3.
Pinecrest also claimed the top spot in the five-team girls open standings at an average of 24:28.6. Southview (24:40.32), J.H. Rose (27:02.79), Clayton (27:28.25) and Research Triangle (33:41.85) rounded out the pack.
Finishing in the top 10 were Claytons Sarah Rebbeor (ninth place, 24:59.58) and West Johnstons Taylor Johnson (10th, 25:00.79).