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Beaufort County runners succeed, Sommers wins conference at Championship Meet

PINETOWN — The Coastal Plains 1A Conference Championship cross-country meet was held at Northside High School on Monday afternoon, as Southside’s Ethan Sommers came away with a first-place finish, while Northside finished third in the conference in both boys and girls.

Two separate meets were run on Monday, with the boys running first. From the jump, Sommers raced out to lead the pack, and finished with a time of 17 minutes and 36 seconds; a full 17 seconds in front of the second-placed runner from Pamlico County.

“It feels pretty good (to win conference), but I still think I could’ve done better,“ Sommers said after the meet. “I think I could be a little bit more ready, do a little more prepping. I didn’t feel like I was ready when I came off the line today, so I just need to push myself harder through my workouts and make sure I’m prepared when Regionals roll around.”

MEDALISTS: Southside’s Tashonte Ballance (left) and Ethan Sommers (right) both medaled in the Conference Championship meet at Northside on Monday. Ballance finished fourth and Sommers finished first, both qualifying for Regionals. (Katherine Bogart)

The Hurricanes won the Conference Championship meet as a team for both male and female runners.

Southside’s sophomore Tashonte Ballance picked up fourth-place finish among the conference with a time of 22:24. Ballance won a meet earlier this year at the Warrior Invitational at Unity Christian Academy.

Panther senior Caroline Boyd ran a great race, good for a fifth-place finish to lead Northside and clocking in at 22:53 on the afternoon. Boyd, as well as her teammates will now prepare for the Regional meet, also held at Northside High School.

“I just need to improve on my last mile. I add like a minute to a minute and half on my last mile,“ Boyd said about her fifth-place performance on Monday evening. “I think I need to work on some more endurance. Our training right now has been a lot of sprints, so I need to work on the endurance factor to get myself up.”

Top finishers for the Panthers include Jasmine Carawan, Candence Nimons and Sydney Baker finishing 14th, 15th and 16th. Sierra Johnson also scored for the Panthers.

As for Southside, Destiny Ward scored a personal best time of 27:43 and has been improving all year long, according to her coach Katherine Bogart.

In the boys meet, Thomas Boyd was the first runner across the finish line for the Panthers in 12th-place with a 20:06 mark. Brent Holland scored a 14th-place finish and Justin Bell in 18th. Zane Brooks and Bryson Proctor also scored points for the Panthers in their third-place overall finish.

The Panthers, along with Southside’s Ballance and Sommers will be participating in the 1A Regional Meet at Northside High School on Nov. 2.