The Wando girls' cross country team has been ranked No. 1 all season. But today will determine if this squad is one for the ages.
The High School League holds its state championships at the Sandhills Research Center in Columbia, and the Warriors held down the top spot in Class AAAA in the final poll of the season. Lexington is No. 2, Dorman is third and Mauldin fourth.
"I prefer to be the underdog, but we've been ranked No. 1 all year," Wando coach Marie Domin said. We've had a target on our backs all year. I don't think of it as a blessing or curse. But I do like being the underdog."
The Warriors won the state title two years ago, but last fall didn't go as planned. Georgia Compton was injured most of the season and the Warriors had to settle for a top-10 finish.
Compton had an impressive track and field season last spring, qualifying for the state meet in two events. She's had an outstanding fall, finishing second to James Island's Mary Stewart Wilson last week in the Lower State run. Wilson and Compton both ran national elite times. Wilson turned in a time of 19 minutes, 41 seconds, which was four seconds faster than Compton.
Compton's sister, Rosa Marie, was fifth at the Lower State and Lucy Rummler was 10th.
The Bishop England boys hold down the top spot in Class AA, but will face stiff challenges from Liberty, Woodruff and Broome.
The Bishops had five runners finish in the top 10 at the Lower State. Nathan Leach and Gabe Thesing both turned in national elite times of 16:25.63 and 16:27.58, respectively.
The Stratford boys enter today's Class AAAA meet as the No. 2 team in the state behind Lexington.
Three local runners turned in national elite times at the state qualifier: Drew Buehring of Fort Dorchester won with a time of 16:08, while Stratford's' Evan Abdullah and Asante Stratford finished second and third.
State cross country
at Sandhills Research Center
8:30 a.m.: Class A Girls
9 a.m.: Class A Boys
9:30 a.m.: Class AA Girls
10 a.m.:Class AA Boys
11 a.m. Class AAA Girls
11:30 am.: Class AAA Boys
Noon: Class AAAA Girls
12:30 p.m.: Class AAAA Boys