KERNERSVILLE — It’s been quite a season for East Wilkes Cross Country, and as the season concluded at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex Saturday afternoon, the runners had the chance to crown one of their own as champion.
Junior Kyle Rhodes would end up having the honors, winning the 1A Cross Country race by a time of 17:06.67. Rhodes was certainly a favorite to win after winning the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Championship followed by winning the Regionals. While the extremely wet conditions created challenges for some, Rhodes triumphed for a dominant win.
“To be honest, I was kind of hoping it would rain and be a little muddy. The rain doesn’t bother me,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said his plan was very similar to what he did at Regionals, trying to break free with just over a mile to go. According to him, midway through the race, things were going according to plan as he pulled away.
“Going down the backstretch I could tell the guy that was leading from Research Triangle was breathing harder and that he was getting tired,” Rhodes said. “I heard him tell his teammate, ‘I’m done, go get him.’ At that point I knew I broke him and tried to get as far as possible.”
Rhodes was the only male competing for the Cardinals. Meanwhile, the entire girl’s team qualified with a great performance in regionals, and finished ninth overall as a group. The comparison for the girl’s program from the start of the season to Saturday was night and day.
“To tell you the truth when we first started this year none of us wanted to run and Coach Tharpe reminded us of that today,” Taylor Tharpe, the team’s lone senior running, said laughing.
Gracie Brown led the Cardinals with a 40th place finish overall. It was Brown who made a pass in the final strides for second during the conference meet earlier in October.
“Gracie stated at the conference championship that she just wanted to do good as a team for me because I was a senior,” Tharpe said. “It just goes to show you the love and respect we have for each other.”
Also representing the region was Elkin’s Jacob Parker and Mattie Timmerman. Parker finished 25th in the men’s race, while Timmerman finished 48th in the girl’s.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.