ROCK HILL --
In a precursor to what could determine the boys’ 4A state cross-country championship, Lexington High School edged out Fort Mill Saturday at the 26th annual Winthrop Invitational cross-country meet.
Lexington posted a score of 27, while Fort Mill posted a 40. Lexington was led by three of its runners, who swept the top three spots. Fort Mill had four runners placing in the top 10, but and all five runners in the top 11.
“We wanted to get a good race in for confidence,” said Fort Mill head coach Marc Pyrc. “We know Lexington is tough. We got some motivation for the last half of the season.”
The event, held at the Winthrop Farm, had about 300 high school athletes raced after the mens’ and womens’ collegiate races. Lexington High School swept the boys’ and girls’ races winning both.
As Saturday morning got closer to the noon hour and the high school races started, the humidity also started to rise talking its toll on several of the younger runners. Many of the high school runners, both girls and boys, fell ill after crossing the finish line.
Winning the girls meet in the high school division was Myers Park’s Sonia Payerpaj, with a time of 19:14. The top local finisher was Fort Mill’s Melissa Smith at 28th in 21:58, followed by teammate Emily Lyons at 22:02 in 29th.
The Lady Jackets finished seventh overall as a team and Nation Ford finished 10th. The top Nation Ford girl to finish was Polly Goss at 39th in 22:48, followed by teammate Leah Thornock in 40th at 22:49.
In the boys’ race, Lexington took the top three spots as Tony Morales won in 16:01. Fort Mill’s Christian Ruppe came in fourth overall and was the top local boys’ finisher with a time of 16:47.
Ruppe paced the Jackets as they finished second in the team standings behind Lexington.
Following Ruppe in crossing the finish line for Fort Mill was his brother Cameron Ruppe in seventh at 17:05, followed by teammate Lucas Stalnaker, also at 17:05.
The Jackets had Jeremy Ricks round out the top 10 by finishing 10th at 17:20 and teammate Matthew Case was right behind him at 17:27 in 11th place.
The highest Nation Ford runner to finish was Luke Christison at 18:06, good enough for 20th place. As a team, the Nation Ford boys finished in seventh place.