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by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
CARY — Franklin Academy’s girls and boys cross country team both finished second in Tuesday’s 5K race held at Bond Park in Cary.
Host Raleigh Charter won the girls and boys race.
East Wake Academy was third in the girl’s race and placed fourth in the boys run. River Mill Academy girls finished fourth and the boys took third place.
In the girl’s race, Franklin Academy competed without varsity runners Aly Chura and Olivia Shaut.
“The girls still ran a strong race,” said Patriot coach Beth Martin.
Hannah Zenker won the race in a time of 20:51 and finished about one minute ahead of Jenna Januki, a runner from River Mill.
Franklin Academy freshman Ally Christopher placed fourth overall with a new best time of 22:14 and Brittany Henderson completed the race with a season best time of 22:46.
Two other freshman runners from Franklin Academy, Abby Wade, 23:49, and Kianna Cook, 24:31, rounded out the girls top-five.
“They both ran personal best times,” Martin said. “Nearly all the girls ran either a season best or set a new personal record, just where we want to be in the middle of the season.”
“The freshmen seem to be figuring out how to race and are gaining more confidence,” Martin added.
The boy’s race was led from start to finish by Raleigh Charter’s Chris O’Brien. He was more than 1.5 minutes ahead of the next runner.
Franklin Academy’s Matthew Pertz led the Patriots with a third place finish in 18:16.
“He ran a smart, strong race and finished with a fast last mile,” Martin said.
Pertz was followed by Justin Martin, 19:06 and Nick Mazzoleni, 19:09.
“It was a personal best time for Nick,” Martin said. “Most of the team ran their fastest time of the season. They ran close together and helped each other to strong finishes, something we continually emphasize in practice.”
“The guys really push one another to do well and it’s paying off,” Martin added.
The Patriots also raced last Thursday in Burlington at Cedarock Park, where they took first place in both the girls and boys 5K race against River Mill, Roxboro Community and Kestrel.
Zenker led the girls to victory with a time of 23:17, followed by Chura, 23:26 and Christopher, 23:37.
Henderson crossed the finish line in 24:40 and Cook ran the course in 26:00.
“The girls ran this race close together and managed to shrink the time between the first and fifth runner to only 2:43,” Martin said.
Martin said the course was hilly and runners ran through the woods.
“The weather moving in around us brought the temperatures down for a comfortable race,” Martin said.
Martin was the fastest in the boy’s event and came in first with a time of 17:21. Pertz was close behind in 17:33 and Mazzoleni had a time of 18:23.
Freshman Kevin Ruiz ran the race in 18:48 and Evan Uhlig, the Patriots fifth runner, finished in 19:28.
A runner from Roxboro was the only one to break up Franklin Academy’s group of runners.
“Both teams ran well and missed a perfect score by one runner,” Martin said.
Franklin Academy will race tomorrow at Southern Wayne Academy. On Tuesday, the Patriots will host a race at Flaherty Park in Wake Forest.