by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Franklin Academy’s girls cross country team landed a perfect score of 15 and a first place in Tuesday’s tri-meet Tuesday against Triangle Research High School and Voyager Academy.
The Patriot boys were second in their race behind winner Research Triangle.
Hannah Zenker of Franklin Academy finished the Flaherty Park course in Wake Forest first in 21:16. Teammates Aly Chura and Ally Christopher were second and third with times of 22:03 and 22:15, respectively.
In fourth place was Brittany Henderson, 23:41, and finishing in fifth and sixth were Olivia Shaut, 24:40, and Kianna Cook, 25:22.
“The girls race was pretty much set from the beginning with the Patriot girls going out strong and never letting up,” said Franklin Academy coach Beth Martin. “I expected the girls to come out and win today and they did just that. Like the boys, they were working on running close together so they can close the gaps we’ve had in the past,” Martin added.
The Patriots, Martin said, are a deeper and stronger team than last year.
“That’s because of our solid freshmen and a few older girls who came out for cross country for the first time,” Martin said. “It will be fun to watch them develop as the season progresses.”
Justin Martin was the fastest boy for Franklin Academy, coming in third in 18:43.
Matthew Pertz posted a time of 19:24, good enough for a fifth place finish and Nick Mazzoleni was seventh in 20:00. The other top ten finisher for the Franklin Academy boys was Evan Uhlig, 20:20.
Madison Daniel of Research Triangle won the boys race with a time of 18:00.
“The boys had a good start to the season with this race,” Martin said. “Almost all the guys that were on the team last year started this season with a better time on their first meet.”
“Running in August meets means hot, muggy weather, which is not easy for new runners on the team, but they performed well,” Martin added. “There were a few that started out too fast and couldn’t hold the pace, but that is expected when you are new to racing and it will be something we’ll be working on for the next race.”
Franklin Academy’s next race is Monday, Sept. 9 in Granville County.