Cavalier trio makes all-conference cut
Published 11:00 pm Friday, November 13, 2015
The Lakeland High School cross country program produced three all-conference runners this year by virtue of their placement in the top 15 of the 5,000-meter run at the Conference 27 championships.
Cavaliers senior Raekwon Sallywhite placed fifth and sophomore Ryan Wright placed 14th in the boys’ run, while sophomore Jaketa Stewart took 15th in the girls’ run.
Of having an all-conference trio, Lakeland coach Chris Novakoski said, “I felt pretty good about it,” though he and the team were hoping it could have been a quartet.
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Sallywhite finished with an impressive time of 17:06.70, which established a new personal record for him.
“His goal was to be top five, and he got the fifth spot, so I was definitely pleased,” Novakoski said of his top runner, who was part of a field of 37 participants.
The coach said that going into the conference meet, it was thought that Stewart might have a chance to earn an all-conference honor.
“We had been working really hard, and her time was dropping,” Novakoski said. “She got the last spot, so it was very satisfying for her to make it.”
The growth that she demonstrated to make the cut was extraordinary. She finished with a time of 25:34.33.
“She had not even been close to that time,” Novakoski said, noting Lakeland had run a race in Franklin about two weeks prior that was not quite three miles long, and she ran a 28:22 in that event. “In 10 days, she dropped almost three minutes.”
Wright finished with a time of 18:50.01, which Novakoski said was a slower time than the one Wright ran last year. The coach was hoping Wright would get into the top 10 this season, and though he did not, Novakoski was still pleased he made the all-conference team.
“It’s two years in a row,” Novakoski said. “He’s only a sophomore, so two years in a row, that’s pretty good.”