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Comets harriers outrun Dan River, Hargrave

The times may have been a little slower, but that didn’t deter the Halifax County High School boys and girls cross country teams from sweeping Wednesday’s tri-meet at Edmunds Park.  The Comets boys, with 21 points, beat Hargrave Military Academy (49 points) and Dan River High School (56 points) in a tri-meet, while the Comets girls topped Dan River High School 19-40 in a dual competition.

Halifax County High School’s Ethan Collie won the boys race with a time of 19 minutes and one second, beating Dan River High School runner Wesley Thomas to the finish line by 24 seconds. Collie’s Comets teammates Vatsal Lal and Andrew Liegey placed third and fourth respectively, giving the Comets three of the top four finishing spots.

With his win, Collie kept his record on the Edmunds Park course unblemished for the season. He has lost only one race on the course since the beginning of last season.

The Comets runner said a change in strategy still paid off with a win.

“I was pacing myself,” Collie said.

“Coach Taylor told me to slow down on my first mile. That’s what I tried to do. I ran my first mile slower than usual.”

Still it was a tough race for Collie, who was feeling uncomfortable after the event.

“The last mile is when it started getting really tough,” Collie said.

“That’s when I started to feel like I’m going to pass out.”

In addition to Collie, Lal and Liegey, the Comets got top-ten finishes from Sergio Valesquez (6th) and Ryan Throckmorton (7th).

Lucy Morrison also had a good day for the Comets, turning in a time of 24:45. That mark was good enough to allow her to beat her closest challenger, Kayla Alverson of Dan River High School, by a minute and 17 seconds. The win was her third straight victory on the Edmunds Park Course this season.

“I think I ran better than I did in the other two (wins),” Morrison remarked.

“I beat my best time by a minute and 10 seconds, but it (the race) felt harder than the other two. I did a lot better than I did in the district preview at Franklin County. I think I can do a lot better in the next district meet.”

With heavy rain the night before, the Edmunds Park course was wet and a little slower than usual. Morrison said the wet conditions posed no problem.

“It was really muddy, but it didn’t affect my running,” she said.

“The creeks were kind of high, so you had to jump over them. Usually you just have to take one step over them.”

Like the boys team, the Comets girls made a big sweep in the top five. The girls captured four of the top five spots, with Laura Guthrie finishing third, Baylee Snead finishing fourth and Lexi Barron finishing fifth.

The Comets’ Monica Puckett, Berkley Conner, Grace Davis, Jessica Conner and Kelsey White rounded out the top ten finishers in the girls meet.

“Score-wise, it was a good day and the effort was there,” said Comets Coach Brady Taylor.

“Our times were maybe not quite what we had anticipated, but we did enough to win both races.

“Both Dan River and Hargrave are in kind of the same situation as us, trying to get to that next level,” added Taylor.

“Both of them are good teams coming up, and that’s what we consider ourselves. That said, we expected to win today and we got it. We would have been disappointed if we hadn’t won.”