Harding, Smith claim conference championships

Published 3:05 pm Thursday, October 19, 2023

Northside’s Andrew Harding set a Beaufort County record in the Coastal Plains 1A/2A Conference cross country championship meet, while Washington’s Lydia Smith was named the Runner of the Year in the Eastern Plains 2A Conference.

Harding, a junior, blazed around the 5k course at Pamlico County High School in 15:57 to break his own Northside record and finish six seconds ahead of the second place runner from Lejeune. Mason Newman finished 11th with a time of 18:05. The Northside boys finished third behind Lejeune and Pamlico County.

Senior Kiele Scott led the Panthers girls with a third place finish in 21:47. Junior Ava Hedgepeth was 10th in 25:36. The girls team was second behind Lejeune. Northside hosts the 1A East Regional Saturday, Oct. 28.

The Washington girls dominated the EPC event at the Farmville Central track by taking the top 10 spots. Smith, a sophomore, completed the course in 22:41 to take the girls title and claim conference Runner of the Year honors. Senior Hailey Broadwell was second in 23:34, while Jessica Conner (23:30), Elizabeth Barrera (26:28) and Keelyn Plunkett (26:42 completed the top five.

“Lydia has put in extra work all season and it paid off for her today,” Pam Pack coach Dawn Landen said. “She gets up early for long runs on Saturday’s, she runs hills and her time in the weight room has helped her. She was just second behind her personal record Wednesday and she could break the 22 minute barrier at the regional.”

Sophomore Manuel Meza finished two minutes behind the champion from Farmville and settled for second place in 19:46. Classmate Tate Tucker was fifth in 20:31 and freshman Maddox Smith was eighth in 20:39. All three earned All-Conference honors as the team finished second behind Farmville Central.

“All three ran season-best times, which is good going into our regional next week,” Landen said. “Two of our top runners were sick and missed the race and we will need them next week to qualify for the state meet as a team.”