Northside wins conference meet

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — Northside’s dominance of the Atlantic/Albemarle Conference Cross Country Championships continued on Tuesday as the Panthers’ boys and girls teams both claimed team titles.
The Panthers’ boys team has now won nine straight conference titles, while the girls have claimed six of the last eight championships.
In the boys’ race, Northside’s Bryant Fletcher came away with a surprising victory after blistering the Panthers’ difficult course in a time of 18 minutes and 35 seconds.
Fletcher, who had yet to beat Williamston’s Stephen Silverthorne this season, ran his best race of the year and ran away from Silverthorne (19 minutes, 25 seconds) down the stretch.
Fletcher’s brilliant run also helped the Panthers (18 points) secure the team championship ahead of both Manteo (50 points) and Southside (68 points).
Northside had seven of the top 10 finishers in Tuesday’s race. Following Fletcher were, Alex Cutler in third place, James Cadle in fourth, Doug Wagg in sixth, Jonathan Dupree in eighth, Kyle Shepherd in ninth and Shay Brickhouse in tenth.
Southside’s Chuck Guard was the lone Seahawks runner in the top-10, coming home in seventh.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Panthers were the beneficiary of a miscue by Manteo runner Marlee Putnam. The Redskins’ freshman runner was sitting in second place behind teammate Ana Calvio late in the race, and accidently veered off course. Because she left the racing surface, she was disqualifed, allowing the Northside girls to win the team title.
Had Putnam stayed on course, the Lady Redskins would have won the title 22-30, instead, the Lady Panthers were the victors, 25-31.
Calvio (22 minutes, 49 seconds) was the run-away winner of the girls’ event as she crossed the finish line almost two minutes ahead of Northside’s Elizabeth Harris. Harris was followed by Ashley Clayton in third place, Katie Bowen in fourth, Ashley Ratcliffe in seventh, Jenna Payne in ninth and Marissa Woolard in tenth.
Overall, the Panthers’ program had four boys and four girls earn all-conference honors. Fletcher, Cutler, Cadle and Wagg earned the honor for the boys, while Harris, Clayton, Bowen and Ratcliffe were tabbed with the distinction on the girls’ side.
Williamston’s Silverthorne and Southside’s Guard also earned all-conference honors.
The Atlantic Conference teams will be back in action on Saturday, when they travel to Manteo for the NCHSAA Class 1-A East Region Cross Country Championships. The boys’ race begins at 1 p.m., followed by the girls’ event at 1:45 p.m.