COLUMBIA -- By the end of the Class 3-A boys cross country championship race Saturday morning, the only foe Hilton Head Island High School didn't vanquish was the clock.
The Seahawks placed five runners in the top 11 to dominate the field on the 5-kilometer course at Sandhills Research Park. However, the squad fell short of its goal of posting the fastest team time in state history.
"Sometimes when you put such high expectations on a team, like being one of the fastest in the state, they start focusing on that too much," Hilton Head High coach Bill Wrightson said. "That may have been the case today, though this program has learned to have high expectations. But you have to be very pleased with what we did accomplish: 48 schools in Class 3-A would love to have a first and a second in a state meet."
Hilton Head High's boys finished with 33 points. Wade Hampton (96) and Chapin (109) took second and third, respectively.
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In the girls race, the two-time defending champion Seahawks (78 points) came within nine points of Fort Mill (67).
"To get second is awesome with all the injuries we dealt with this season," said sophomore Emily Crick, whose 10th-place finish (19:34) led four Seahawks into the top 20. "There were only a few practices where everyone was there. This was definitely the most adversity we've had in a while. It's been a challenge, so even with our standards so high, our coming into the state meet and posting these times makes everyone happy."
Crick, senior Rosie Dungan (11th, 19:38) and seventh-grader Carley McGlinn (13th, 19:57) earned all-state honors. Senior Sara Manesiotis, who led the team for much of the season, finished 18th (20:04). Daniel's Sinead Haughey won the individual title in 18:40.
The Hilton Head High boys had no such adversity this season; the closest to it the Seahawks could come Saturday was Jack Felix not leading the field as Class 3-A's top-ranked runner. After a third- and a second-place finish in this event the past two seasons, Felix finished ninth in 16:34.
However, Seahawk sophomore Jack Manesiotis spent the first 2 1/2 miles in front before being caught and passed by Nation Ford senior Kevin Ketner. Manesiotis (16:01) finished second, two seconds behind Ketner.
"I thought Jack would be up there with me, but he wasn't feeling well so I decided to go alone and try and stay in front," Manesiotis said. "I wasn't worried about my place or time; I just went out to run. For me, top five would have been fine. And as a team we ran pretty well -- and though you want to do well individually, the team is the bottom line."
Mackenzie Johnston (5th, 16:28), Sean McMahon (6th, 16:28) and senior Michael Brewer (11th, 16:38), who posted a personal best by approximately 30 seconds according to Manesiotis, rounded out the Seahawks earning all-state honors.
Bluffton's Anthony Vecchio (13th, 16:40) also earned all-state honors.
"All-state was my main goal; the other was to break up Hilton Head's top-five runners, and I didn't do that," Vecchio said. "You just need to race your own race and not think about anything going on. I got caught racing Hilton Head, since they are our rivals. For me, when I see blue and white in front of me, it's like a bull seeing red."
As a team, Bluffton's boys finished 10th. Bluffton's girls, led by Scottie House (35th, 20:34), finished seventh.
Battery Creek's boys, led by senior Rhakeem Brown (45th, 17:26), finished 19th. That's a fair finish for a squad that only had two runners for the first month of the season.
"We did a good job of making up lost ground in a quick time," said Battery Creek coach Terry Fillmore, who is leaving the Dolphins to coach at Whale Branch High next season.
"I'm predicting within two years Battery Creek is going to have a pretty good team," he added. "Top five, maybe."
Class 3-A Cross Country
Top team scores: 1. Hilton Head High 33, 2. Wade Hampton (G) 96, 3. Chapin 109, 4. Daniel 130, 5. Fort Mill 181, 6. Greer 214, 7. Eastside 220, 8. Belton-Honea Path 229, 9. Nation Ford 232, 10. Bluffton 255, 19. Battery Creek 498
Hilton Head High (1st) -- 2. Jack Manesiotis 16:01, 5. Mackenzie Johnston 16:28, 6. Sean McMahon 16:28, 9. Jack Felix 16:34, 11. Michael Brewer 16:38, 17. T.J. Melanson 16:49, 35. Alex Couch 17:16
Bluffton (10th) -- 13. Anthony Vecchio 16:40, 37. Harris Reeves 17:17, 72. Demetrius Smalls 17:55, 74. Joshua Tierney 18:00, 75. Clark Sinclair 18:01, 89. Landon House 18:20, 167. Ryan Blizzard 21:05
Battery Creek (19th) -- 45. Rhakeem Brown 17:26, 52. Raymond Wayne 17:37, 117. Erik Barbosa 18:54, 147. Luis Castillo 19:44, 165. Justin Vega 21:00
Top team scores: 1. Fort Mill 67, 2. Hilton Head High 78, 3. Daniel 88, 4. Eastside 132, 5. Wade Hampton (G) 156, 6. Chapin 238, 7. Bluffton 242, 8. Travelers Rest 283, 9. Union 286, 10. Blue Ridge 290
Hilton Head High (2nd) -- 10. Emily Crick 19:34, 11. Rosie Dungan 19:38, 13. Carley McGlinn 19:57, 18. Sara Manesiotis 20:04, 26. Faith Lifer 20:22, 36. Abi Short 20:34, 51. Frankie Schoning 21:01
Bluffton (7th) -- 35. Scottie House 20:34, 40. Madison Putich 20:46, 41. Jennifer Giles 20:47, 55. Casey Witkowski 21:05, 71. Alex Bailey 21:42, 92. Taylor Klitzsch 22:20, 100. Lea Tierney 22:37.