by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Hannah Zenker of Franklin Academy posted the fastest time in the Sept. 23 North Central Athletic Conference cross country quad meet at Flaherty Park in Wake Forest.
Zenker, who led the entire race, finished in 20:56 and also paced the Patriots girls to first place.
Franklin Academy runners also claimed second, third and fourth place in the girl’s event.
Jade Olgivie came in behind Zenker in 22:41 and she was followed by Brittany Henderson, 23:37 and Aly Chura, 23:57.
Freshmen runners Kianna Cook and Abby Wade finished close together in times of 24:12 and 24:14, respectively.
The Patriots won the race even without standout runner Ally Christopher, who was out with an injury.
Heather Lindquist of Franklin Academy ran her best time of the season in 26:48 and crossed the line in sixth place.
Woods Charter was second in the meet and Kestrel came in third.
“Usually over our three-week break from school, our team’s finishing times suffer a bit, but this season, we’re seeing less of that and seeing even some notable improvements,” said Franklin Academy coach Beth Martin.
Justin Martin was the top runner for the Patriots in the boys race, finishing second in 18:34. He took an early lead and ran just ahead of Patrick Lester of Voyager Academy for close to two miles until Lester passed him and went on to finish first.
“Our fastest three runners stayed up with the top Voyager runners to finish close to them at the end and each of them improved their previous times on our course,” Martin said, “which is probably one of the harder courses we run on all season.”
Matthew Pertz of Franklin Academy was fourth in 19:03 and Nick Mazzoleni ran for sixth place with a time of 19:30.
“Our sixth and seventh runners, Jake Quirk and Sean Beatty have also been steadily improving and today was no exception,” Martin added.
Voyager won the boys meet, followed by Franklin Academy and Woods Charter.
Franklin Academy runners also competed last Friday at Harris Lake in New Hill in a meet hosted by Southern Wayne Academy.
Both the Patriot girls and boys teams won their races.
Christopher captured the girls meet with a time of 20:47.
“She ran a smart race, pacing off of her male teammates in the combined race,” Martin said. “She ended up finishing over a minute ahead of any other female runners.”
Wade and Cook pushed each other to a tandem finish of 22:33, with Wade just edging Cook at the line.
“Kianna knocked two minutes off of her previous best time and showed that she is starting to figure out how to pace more effectively,” Martin said.
Justine Martin won the boys race and teammate Kevin Ruiz was second with a new personal best time of 18:44.
Pertz crossed the line in third in 18:56 ahead of teammates Evan Uhlig, 19:36 and Quirk, 20:16.
“The guys managed to keep the gap between the first and fifth runner to a respectable 2:44 in spite of missing one of their fastest runners,” Martin said.
Franklin Academy’s next race is scheduled for today, Oct. 3 at 5 p.m at Flaherty Park.