The Bishop England boys’ cross country team went wire-to-wire during the 2020 season. The Bishops began the season ranked the No. 1 Class AAA team in the Palmetto State, and, more importantly, concluded it as state champions.
The Bishops bested the field in last week’s state championships, which were contested at the Sandhills Research Center in Columbia.
It was anything but a photo finish as the Bishop boys dominated the boys’ race to win their fifth state title in school history and its first since 2018.
In Class AA boys, the story remained the same as past years as Philip Simmons senior standout Noah Ward won yet another gold medal in distance running.
While the Bishop boys and Noah Ward were long-standing news, the Iron Horse girls’ team showed why it is the team of the future. The girls contended for the crown and finished tied for second place with St. Joseph as Greer Collegiate captured first.
The Iron Horses have a bright future as three freshmen led the charge by finishing in the top 10.
But the big story was the Bishop boys’ domination. The Bishops had five runners place in the top 20 of the 5-kilometer race to easily run away from Pendleton 56-90.
Freshman Justin Hafner, with a time of 16:17, claimed second individually. Junior Hank Linder and senior Mark Richter both finished in the top 15 to earn all-state.
Seniors Matthew Sawyer was 18th and Dominic “Bobo” Coffman was 19th. Brenden Womble and freshman JJ Romano also had strong showings.
Bishop England veteran coach Tony Colizzi was impressed.
“The boys had our top five runners finish before second-place Pendleton had their second runner finish,” the coach said. “It was a great team effort from top to bottom.”
The BE girls finished in third place in the team standings behind state champ Seneca and Waccamaw.
Seventh-grader Nora Brahim finished fourth overall with a time of 19:25. Senior Kimber Keene also earned all-state by finishing 15th individually.
Senior Mary Wallace Rainero finished in 20th place while senior Kayla Vroman topped her personal best by 21 seconds. Nini Clarke, Zoe Eckrich and Bo Rosato had big efforts.
In the boys’ AA, Ward has celebrated a couple of huge milestones recently. He decided to matriculate to Harvard, a school that needs no explanation when it comes to academics.
Now, he’s the recipient of another gold medal. He claimed the championship with an official time of 16:16.31 to win the race by almost 11 seconds.
It was his ninth state championship one way or another. He was on a Hanahan team that won a state team championship. He has eight individual gold medals in either cross country or track and field.
Greer Collegiate topped PSHS 44-68 in the team standings.
Henry Ward and Colin Nemeth earned all-state honors by finishing in the top 15. Will Finch finished 20th.
In the girls’ race, Greer Collegiate scored 30 points while Philip Simmons both scored 69.
Freshman Emmy Wood finished third individually with a time of 19:53.37. Classmates Hailey Myers and Josie May also earned all-state honors as they finished in the top 10.