Brad Popple set a new course record and Brittany Beeker won an unprecedented fourth consecutive Lincoln County Cross Country Championship on Tuesday. Popple anchored and led the East Lincoln Mustangsâ€™ men team to the county crown. On the womenâ€™s side, Beeker did the same guiding her West Lincoln Lady Rebels to the Lincoln County title.
Popple ran the North Lincoln course in 17:36 to establish the new standard by which all other runners that run on the Knightsâ€™ trek will be judged. Max Hasian, another Mustang runner, had a strong performance coming in second with a time of 18:26, while teammate Jeremy James rounded out the top three leading the Mustangs to 40 team points.
Lincolnton had four guys in the top 10: Michael Mauney (fifth) 19:30, Andrew Mauney (sixth) 19:47, Felipe Arce (seventh) 19:50 and Jamie Morrison (tenth) 20:33. Their performance couldnâ€™t quite ease them past the Mustangs as they finished with 41 team points.
North Lincolnâ€™s Lee Broome finished fourth with a time of 19:22. Brett Knierim (ninth) 20:10, Andrew Melton (twelfth) 20:45 and Chad Saunders (fourteenth) 20:47 allowed the home team to finish third gaining 56 points.
John Harkey led the Rebels with a top-10 finish coming in eighth with a 20:02. His teammate Chris Angle came in eleventh (20:44). West Lincoln had 83 points.
Beeker ran a 21:36 to earn the fastest woman title for the fourth time. Her teammate Kelly Pittman came in third (24:20). Jamie Carpenter (eighth) was the third of the Lady Rebels to turn in a top 10 run allowing their team to barely edge the home team of North 38-40.
The Lady Knights also had three runners in the top 10. Alyssa Lowe concluded her run 17 seconds behind Beeker to earn second place, Ana Jackson came in fourth (24.44) and Beri Huitt finished fifth (25:32).
Lincolnton followed suite with Emily Mackie running her way to sixth place (27:32), Elizabeth Watson (ninth) 27:52 and Karla Perez (tenth) 27:55. The Lady Wolves finished with 61 points; good enough for third.
East Lincolnâ€™s Kaitlin Haney turned in the best performance for her team with a seventh place run of 27:39. Celina Rodriguez came in seventeenth place. The Lady Mustangs rounded out the four teams with 87 points.
West Lincolnâ€™s head coach Kim Fernetti was pleased with her teamâ€™s victory and felt that every runner needed to be commended.
â€œThis race was run over a tough, hilly course on a warm day. All finishers are to be greatly commended.â€by John Mark Brooks