Polk’s Edwards earns spot in 1A state cross country meet

Polk County’s Braxton Edwards earned a trip to the state cross country championships with his performance Saturday at the 1A West Regional in Bryson City.

Edwards placed ninth in the boys race with a time of 18:00.98. The top three teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team received a berth in the state 1A meet, set for January 23 at Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex in Kernersville.

On a cold morning that included snow flurries, Edwards was the second finisher not on a qualifying team. His team was a personal record, bettering the 18:28.89 he ran in November at R-S Central.

With just four runners competing, Polk County’s boys did not place in the team competition (five are required). Polk’s Tristan Devine placed 29th with a time of 19:46.58, with senior Chris Rickman taking 42nd with a time of 20:29.09 and Mark Teague finishing 51st in 21:45.04.

Murphy’s Chase Pierce won the boys race with a time of 16:24.94, with Lincoln Charter winning the boys regional title ahead of Murphy and Swain.

Olivia Overholt placed 13th in a time of 22:03.28 to lead the Polk girls, with seniors Emma Brunell in 18th at 22:35.98 and Taytem Johnson in 19th at 22:40.39.

The Wolverine girls placed fourth, trailing Thomas Jefferson, Swain and Lincoln Charter. Alleghany’s Hazel Pasley won the girls regional title in a time of 18:58.71.

Tori Thompson placed 44th with a time of 26:27.23, with Kayla Kitchen in 48th at 29:43.72 and Chloe Patterson in 52nd with a time of 32:39.60.

The 1A state boys meet will be held in two heats, with one group running at 2 p.m. and the other at 2:45 p.m.