Cane Bay senior Zane Jackson won the Class AAAAA state cross country title and Noah Ward of Philip Simmons repeated as the Class AA state champion at the SCHSL state meet in Camden on Tuesday.
Jackson, who was a state champion in track last May, won his first cross country gold medal after finishing in second-place in each of the last two years competing in Class AA/A for Palmetto Scholars Academy.
Jackson, who set the AAAAA state record with a time of 15:18, was the favorite heading into the final race of the season but admits he was nervous about the big stage.
“Yes, I was nervous at the start,” Jackson said. “I felt confident because I prepared and trained hard all fall but I knew I had to have a good race to win.”
Lexington sophomore Zander Jeffcoat finished as the runner-up and provided the necessary competition for Jackson to run his race. Jackson won by three seconds.
“I let him get out to the lead and just went with him,” said Jackson. “I was able to out-kick him in the end but it was close. The course was very flat and all grass, a really good course to run.”
Wando’s Daniel Munoz earned all-state recognition for his seventh-place finish, while Summerville’s Daren Hinds was all-state with a 13th-place finish. Wando finished sixth in the team standings.
Ward posted his third top-five performance in three years with his second straight winning effort, helping to lead Philip Simmons to a runner-up finish in the team standings. He finished fourth in 2017.
Philip Simmons lost the team championship by two points, posting 64 points to Greer Middle College’s 62 points.
Also earning all-state honors from Philip Simmons were Henry Ward (8th) and Colin Nemeth (9th).
The Philip Simmons girls team was third in the AA/A team standings, led by all-staters Hailey Meyers (6th), Josie May (7th) and Emmy Wood (12th).
Summerville’s Brianna Dooney was the top local finisher in the AAAAA girls race, placing 16th. James Island’s 10th-place finish was the top team performance.
In AAA girls, Hanahan finished eighth and Bishop England ninth in the team standings. Hanahan’s Hannah Johnson was the top local finisher in fourth. Bishop England’s Mary Wallace Rainero was ninth overall and Hanahan’s Kylie Futrell finished 12th to earn all-state honors.
Academic Magnet was the state runner-up in AAA boys, with Bishop England taking third-place. Each had two all-state runners — Mark Richter (3rd) and Logan Desciak (10th) from Bishop England; Evan Daniels (11th) and Robert Gourdine (14th) from Academic Magnet.
Hanahan’s Aidan Hatton was the state runner-up in the AAA race.
In the Class A boys final, Military Magnet was third in the team standings, led by state runner-up Garnaris McCormick. Cross finished seventh and Charleston Math & Science was eighth in the team standings.