PLEASANT GARDEN — The top high school distance runners in the area didn’t just have to beat each other Tuesday, they had to beat the heat at the Guilford County cross country championships.
Northern Guilford’s Emma Fredericks and Page’s Cam Milroy did both. Fredericks ran away with her second consecutive girls title in 19 minutes, 49.88 seconds, and Milroy won the boys race in 16:16.28.
All the day’s times were slowed by 89-degree heat and high humidity that turned the shaded hollow just beyond the finishing chute at Hagan-Stone Park into The Pit of Misery for most runners.
“This is the worst invitational time I’ve run in a year,” Fredericks said. “But I don’t think I’ve ever run a meet where it was this hot and this humid. I don’t know if I have in my whole life.”
Fredericks led Northern to its second consecutive girls title as the Nighthawks finished with 35 points to runner-up Northwest Guilford’s 65.
“My legs were a little sore today and I was aware of the heat,” the Northern junior said. “This summer’s been kind of strange, off-and-on cool, but this week was the hot week. I didn’t feel like I was prepared for it. When we started I felt OK. My quads were a little sore, but I was surprised (at winning by nearly 44 seconds) because I didn’t feel like I was going that fast.
“For what it was, I’m not too disappointed” with the time, she added.
Southwest Guilford (65) edged Grimsley (73) to win the boys team championship behind top-10 finishes from Kobe Brown (5th), Travis Leach (6th) and Aman Tsegay (9th).
Page, led by Milory, was third another 10 points behind Grimsley. Northern Guilford’s David Melville had won the county championship the past three years before going on to Harvard, so Tuesday’s race was different for Milroy, who finished third in 2017.
“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into the race,” the Pirates senior said. “When I got around that first loop I could tell I was going to be out front. I tried to stick and take it where I could, but it’s different not having anybody to really chase after. It’s definitely a different experience.”
Milroy finished 14.59 seconds ahead of Northern sophomore Jack Dingman, who has been coming on since late in his freshman season.
“We had a great frontrunner to push it in Cam Milroy from Page,” Dingman said, “so all around it was a really good run even though it was a little bit hot out. I started dying in the woods, went out a little fast, but I was able to push through it. I’m happy overall and (16:30.87) was a PR.”
Not many runners were going to post their best times in Tuesday’s heat.