he West Lincoln Rebels cross-country team won both the Lincoln County mens and womens championships Tuesday at Highland Park.
For the women, it was the third consecutive time theyâ€™ve bested their county competition; the men had not won the Lincoln County crown since the inaugural run in 1996.
West Lincoln head coach Jim Harkey believed the victory stemmed from hard work and dedication to excel.
â€œWinning the county championship is a product of a total team effort,â€ he said.
â€œWe have 24 runners and the runners at the front and at the back all produced times that reflect a real effort to do their best,â€ he added.
West Lincoln tied with East Lincoln with 49, but won the county title as the result of a tie-breaker.
Top male runners for the Rebels were Matt Rednour, who ran an 18:53 to finish sixth; David Branton, who ran a 19:08 to come in eighth; Adam Patton, with a 19:33 finished ninth; and Ronnie Nicholson, with a 19:38 to finish 10th.
Roberto Enriquez ran a 20:32 to finish 16th and Chris Long ran a 22:45 to finish 24th.
Harkey was pleased to see his boys team take first because of their diligent work ethic.
â€œI was just glad to see our boys accomplish that. They ran all summer together, work well together and encourage each other,â€ he said.
â€œThey donâ€™t get a lot of respect sometimes and I think maybe this will help that,â€ he added.
The West Lincoln womens cross- country team continues to set the bar high for the rest of the county as a whole.
While they had no runners finish in the top three, they had five runners finish in the top 10.
Those solid contributions helped the Lady Rebels record a score of 25, while North Lincoln finished with a 32.
Top runners for the women were Whitney Beaver, who came in fourth with a 23:36; Lori Mauney; who finished fifth with a 24:06; Melissa Avery; who was sixth with a 24:07; Megan Gates, who finished seventh with a 24:14; and Kelly Pittman who finished with a 24:18 to come in eighth.
Kallie Wease finished 12th with a time of 27:13; Jamie Carpenter finished 13th with a time of 25:34; Jordan Sain was 14th with a time of 26:59; and Allyson Goins ran a 27:20 to finish in 15th place.
The Rebels have two more regular season meets and the Southern Piedmont Conference Meet remaining for the regular season.
While the victory was savored, Harkey does not feel either of his teams is the team to beat in the county.
â€œAll of our county teams are always real balanced, so I expect it to be really tight,â€ he said. â€œOne runner having a good or bad day could decide it. I would not call ourselves the favorite.â€
by John Mark Brooks