by Cliff Mehrtens

HUNTERSVILLE – The Lake Norman Charter boys cross country team won the N.C. 1A West regional meet at Cherokee High Oct. 27. The girls’ squad narrowly finished second in a tiebreaker.

Both teams are contenders for the 1A state championship, which will be Nov. 3 at Beeson Park in Kernersville.

Lake Norman Charter’s boys were regional champions for the third straight year. The Knights’ 41 points were well ahead of runner-up Mitchell (78 points) and Hayesville (120).

Matt Panza (fifth place) was the Knights’ top finisher among 93 runners, running the 5,000 meters in 17 minutes, 21 seconds.He was followed Nathan Kemper (sixth, 17:35), Sean Kenney (seventh, 17:53) and Sean Powers (eighth, 17:59). All four runners were named to the all-regional team.

Lake Norman Charter’s girls finished its race tied with Lincoln Charter. The tiebreaker was decided by which team’s sixth-best finisher was better among the 71 runners (the top five runners count toward a team’s score). Lincoln Charter’s runner finished 15th to win the regional championship and Lake Norman Charter’s runner was 18th.

Three Knights were named to the girls all-regional team – Sarah Hardin (second place in 20:47), Vicki Kohlwey (fifth, 21:18) and Stephanie Zaino (eighth, 21:36).

• Malia Ellington, a sophomore at Community School of Davidson, won the 1A Midwest regional in 19:18. Teammate Marissa Lundsten, a freshman, finished fourth (20:09). Both qualified for the 1A state meet.

• The area’s top boys finishers in the N.C. 4A West regional at McAlpine Park in Charlotte were Hough’s Kevin Harrow (24th, 17:06), North Mecklenburg’s Stephan Snyder (34th, 17:20) and Hopewell’s Nate Nash (46th, 17:33). The top area finisher in the girls race was Hough’s Heloise Hedlund, who finished 42nd in 21:11.

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