DAVIDSON – Thousands of high school athletes in North Carolina run in cross-country competitions. Only eight – four of which are females – can call themselves state champions.
Malia Ellington is one of that elite quartet. She’s a junior at Community School of Davidson who won the N.C. Class 1A championship. And she’s the lone individual state champ in a lake area that produces solid runners and teams every fall.
Ellington is The Herald Weekly’s Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
She ran to the 1A championship at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville, covering the 5,000-meter course in 19 minutes, five seconds. She was 14 seconds ahead of runner-up Hannah Zenker (Franklin Academy).
“It was exciting because our boys and girls teams had won the regional meet the week before,” Ellington said. “We were all glad to be there. I took it out pretty fast. I got some competition in the second mile from Hannah Zenker, but I felt really good in the third mile.”
“Malia had an incredible season,” Community School of Davidson coach Mike Good said. “She began by winning the Cannon Invitational for the second year in a row and finished by winning the (Southern Piedmont 1A) conference championship, the (N.C. 1A West) Regional championship and finally the 1A state championship. Her consistency, hard work, and dedication paid off and I am so proud of her.”
Ellington improved her times as the postseason progressed, and she finished comfortably ahead in each race. She ran a 19:57 to win the conference title by 13 seconds. That was followed by a 20:02 to win the regional championship, again 13 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. Ellington bettered her time to 19:05 in the state championship, but maintained her dominance by winning by 14 seconds.
“It’s easy to repeat the accolades that Malia has won this season but what really made this season great was the success of the entire girls’ team,” Good said. “As the captain, Malia led the team and through her enthusiasm, awesome attitude and hard work, inspired the team to step up when it counted the most. Of everything this team and Malia accomplished this season, I am most proud of how they came together as a team, and Malia was a big part of that. She is one of the most focused athletes I have ever met. Malia truly understands that to be successful as an endurance athlete, you have to pay attention to everything you do. She trains hard all year long, she eats right, she gets enough sleep and she listens to her body.”
Herald Weekly 2013 Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year
It takes more than one great runner for a cross-country team to succeed. Coach Mike Good directed second-year Community School of Davidson to second place at the N.C. Class 1A championship meet. He is The Herald Weekly Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Good’s squad was led by state individual champion Malia Ellington. But the Spartans had solid efforts from freshman Hunter Cashion (10th at state meet), sophomore Marissa Lundsten and freshman Katie Smith. The young Spartans won the Class 1A West Regional championship. Three Spartans finished among the top five runners at the regional meet. Community School of Davidson finished second in the Southern Piedmont 1A conference championship by placing three runners among the top six.