United Way Cross Country Invitational focused on times and service

Oct. 18, 2022


By John Bailey


By the time the first starter gun went off last Wednesday (Oct. 12), the rain had stopped at Southside Park in Newton, providing 500 cross country athletes from across the region the perfect weather to compete in the 29th annual John F. Hall Catawba County United Way Cross Country Invitational. 

cross country

The event was re-named for John Hall this year (founder of the invitational) to honor his ongoing commitment to serve and inspire local youth in competition and in serving their community.

"To me, with 25 teams, the general excitement about the race and the service projects, this was the best participation we've had," Hall said. "We're already thinking about celebrating our 30th invitational next year."

As part of the event, teams organize local service projects and report on them prior to the race. The projects are judged with the top three receiving a monetary award they can donate to a local non-profit.

The 2022 service project winners were 1st - Shelby High, 2nd - University Christian High and 3rd - Freedom High. Each team received monetary awards ($250, $150 and $100 respectively) to support a non-profit program in their community.

"It's worth our time to go out one day and say we're going to do something a little different,” Shelby High head coach David Bryson said. “We're going to go help somebody. We're going to go engage in literacy in our community, so kids learn that's important. I think it's a responsible way to run a program. It's what we ought to be doing."

The Catawba County United Way thanks all the volunteers who came out to help and all our sponsors who helped make this event possible. They included CT Management, Century Furniture, Dick's Sporting Goods, Frye Regional Medical Center, Hickory Metro Sports Commission, Sharp Business Systems, Hamilton & Herring Orthodontics, Premier Screen Printing and Promotions, Rotary Club of Hickory, Publix, A Signco, Big Kahuna Timing, Drum & Willis Reynolds Funeral Home, Lenoir-Rhyne University Cross Country Team and City of Newton Recreation Department. 

cross country

Team winners included: T.C. Roberson – boys championship; West Henderson – girls championship; Lincolnton – boys invitational; West Lincoln – girls invitational, T.C.

Locally, the top individual runner was Ben Martin from Bunker Hill High, winner of the boys invitational race.

Top ten individual runners

Championship boys

1 Seth Caudill – Asheville 16:22.34

2 Hudson Rice – West Henderson 16:27.73  

3 Blake Nicholson – Christ the King Catholic School 16:28.67

4 Caleb Phillips – Smoky Mountain 16:44.28  

5 Michael Martinez – Mooresville 16:48.68  

6 Will Fiore – T.C. Roberson 16:55.08

7 Tyler Gordon – T.C. Roberson 17:02.54

8 Josiah Kaiser – T.C. Roberson 17:02.85  

9 Hunter Smathers – Maiden High 17:06.30  

10 Nicholas Gibson – T.C. Roberson 17:10.35

Championship girls

1 Hannah Caudill – Asheville 18:28.74  

2 Katherine Hopkins – Lincolnton 18:29.21  

3 Noelle Houlihan – West Henderson 19:12.82  

4 Ella Moore – Mooresville 19:13.49  

5 Katie Deacon – Freedom 19:42.94

6 Breanna Budzinski – West Henderson 19:46.81  

7 Nicole Alfers – Christ the King Catholic School 19:47.45  

8 Mariah Knight – Mooresville 19:49.48  

9 Lauren Vanderpool – Mooresville 19:56.74  

10 Paisley Stepp – West Henderson 20:06.20

Invitational boys

1 Ben Martin – Bunker Hill 17:40.10  

2 Gabe Wykle – Patton 18:08.40  

3 Damon Cook – Shelby 18:24.58  

4 Andy Saine – West Lincoln 18:36.94

5 Elijah Baker – East Burke 18:40.33

6 Isaac Carrol – Bandys 18:46.27  

7 James Skeens – Bunker Hill 18:53.28  

8 Jasper Grein – Asheville 18:56.21  

9 Winford Batten – Bandys 18:57.00  

10 Chandler Sneed – Lincolnton 19:02.39

Invitational girls

1 Meah Walsh – East Burke 20:25.22  

2 Cate Hata – Hickory Christian Academy 21:09.32  

3 Ally Hollifield – Shelby 21:16.51  

4 Emily Hedrick – Bandys 21:22.52  

5 Kylin Wayne – Maiden High 21:45.64  

6 Ashley Hernandez – East Burke 22:20.05  

7 Jade Gonzalez-Cardenas – St, Stephens 22:28.64  

8 Jillian Mawyer – West Lincoln 22:37.57  

9 Kaylee Nelson – Bunker Hill 23:15.63  

10 Adleigh Sutton – West Lincoln 23:31.73

For complete meet results visit https://nc.milesplit.com/.

To learn more about the Catawba County United Way call 828-327-6851 or visit ccunitedway.com.