MILLERS CREEK - With the conference cross country meet still a month out, the Buckin’ Elks were in midseason form at the pre-conference meet Tuesday afternoon at West Wilkes.
Elkin raced to the overall boys’ team title in a landslide, powered by a 2-3 finish by the dynamic duo of Brandon Welborn and Jacob Parker, besting second-place Wilkes Central by 31 points (43-74).
Shakai Ward powered the Lady Elks to a third-place team finish with an individual championship, coming up just short against Wilkes Central, 62-63, for second.
Racing on the same course the conference meet will be held on in October, the eight league teams tested out the terrain Tuesday.
The hilly course didn’t slow down East Wilkes’ Will Jolly, who breezed to a first-place finish in the boys’ race with a course-record time of 17:15 - 23 seconds ahead of the pack.
The race was tight behind Jolly with the next five runners crossing the finish line just 17 seconds apart. Welborn posted a personal-best time of 17:38 to capture silver, while Parker crossed in the line in third in 17:42, setting a new career-best time.
East’s Kyle Rhodes finished fifth in a time of 17:52 with Elkin’s Said Javier crossing in seventh place in 18:10.
The pair of top-five finishers secured a team bronze for the Cardinals with 87 points.
Starmount finished eighth in the final team standings with 217 points, led by a 33rd-place finish by Stuart Wilkins in a time of 21:49.
Brandon Gambill crossed the line in 38th place (21:58), while Nick Worley finished 52nd (24:35) to round out the Rams’ top three finishers.
In the girls’ race, Ward broke her career-mark to easily capture gold with a time of 21:24. The junior finished nearly 20 seconds ahead of the group with West Wilkes’ Brooke Bentley (21:52) and East Wilkes’ Taylor Tharpe (21:54) rounding out the top three.
The Lady Elks placed three runners in the top 15 to secure the third-place place team finish. Behind Ward, Kelsey Nicholson crossed the line 9th in a time of 23:19, while Madeline Carter finished 14th in a time of 24:27.
Behind Tharpe, Melia Huggins and Brooke Schbuart raced to 17th- and 18th-place finishes to lead the Cardinals to fifth in the team standings with 124 team points.
Amber Fernando paced Starmount, crossing the line in 24th in a time of 26:07, while Janet Zimora finished 35th in 28:00 flat as the Rams ended the day in seventh place with 182 team points.
Boys’ Team Finishes
1. Elkin - 43
2. Wilkes Central - 74
3. East Wilkes - 87
4. North Wilkes - 104
5. West Wilkes - 108
6. Ashe County - 112
7. Alleghany - 226
8. Starmount - 257
Girls’ Team Finishes
1. Ashe County - 57
2. Wilkes Central - 62
3. Elkin - 63
4. West Wilkes - 88
5. East Wilkes - 124
6. North Wilkes - 143
7. Starmount - 182
8. Alleghany - N/A
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.