November 3, 2011By Jade Dickerson of Grimsley Senior High School
The 1980's were the peak for Grimsley in terms of competitive running. When you visit our gym, take notice of the banners for both boys' and girls' cross country and track teams. Some banners have a string of dates listed. The Whirlies dominated state championships then.
The 1990's saw a sharp decline. 1993 was the last time a team of cross country guys made it to the big show. In 2006, the first year of the P&P Era (Peoples and Profe), a team of underrated girls got in, led by freshman Tess Wynn (now running at NC State) followed by a pack of girls who refused to let any other runners between them.* Nobody saw that coming. It was to mark the return of competitive running for the Whirlies. Since then, many individuals have had the privilege of competing as one of the best (Tess Wynn, Tori Churchill, Will Wooten, Naethan Burch, Kevin Depopas).
2011 has been another historic year in the up-swing of the Whirlies XC teams. We knew from day one we had two talented teams. After a tremendous season, the Conference Championship almost seemed to be a disillusion. Neither team realized the goal of a sweep that we had dreamed of. However, that was fuel for a fire that the athletes took to Regionals. A very young girls team finished 7th, one better than last year and one measly point behind the archrivals, Page. Freshman Mary Katherine Gwynn finished first for Grimsley, just edging an injured sophomore Tori Churchill who was hoping to make it to States for the second consecutive year. It was not to be for the girls but they go into next year with extremely high expectations.
The guys were only guarnteed a chance. They knew it was going to be a fight to the finish. Southeast, who won the Metro 4A title, were looking to continue their success. West Forsyth has felt the sting of being fifth place several years over the past decade and knew that they were going to have to live up to the achievements of conference rivals Reagan and Mt. Tabor. The third conference that was present at the meet was lead by the perennial Guilford County powerhouse, Northwest. It was as tight a race as there could be. After the race, the results are called out starting with the lowest place and ascends. Everyone waited anxiously until the fifth place team was called, having not heard their team's name yet. Then, the guys had to contain unfettered joy when the might Northwest preceeded the conveted fourth position. It's the only time in the P&P Era that the Vikings have fallen to the Whirlies in any competition. Grimsley will be the only Guilford county team of boys represented this year.
We would appreciate any support on Saturday. Don't be late! It's the fastest 18 minutes in sports. Our chances of winning the title this year are slim to none but stay tuned....
*In cross country, the top four teams from the Regional Championship qualify. Like golf, the lowest score wins. Scoring is based on the runners' finishing position. A team that sticks together simultaneously wins points for their team while stealing points from others. After that, the top five individuals whose team did not qualify are allowed to move on and represent their school in the championship meet. Many of these athletes have won the entire race, thus becoming State Champion (Blake Williams from Northern Durham is the most recent example).