After Havelock’s lackluster performance in the first Coastal 3A Conference cross country meet of the season, the Ram boys team realized work had to be done.
That work paid off as Havelock finished second in a four-team meet last week at the Havelock Recreation Complex.
"The guys, they finished fifth out of eight at the conference kickoff, and they took that personally," Havelock coach Dave Garvey said. "They want to improve. They want to be better, so coming in second was good for them."
West Carteret, a perennial state power, won the meet with 16 points, while the Rams were second with 55, with South Central third at 67 and Washington fourth with 114.
Havelock senior Zach Bruns broke up a West Carteret sweep on top of the individual standings by placing fifth in the 3.1-mile run in a time of 17 minutes, 32 seconds.
"I ran decent, but I should have run better," Bruns said. "We didn’t have practice because of the rain."
Rain also impacted the race, with a spotty drizzle that turned into a brief shower when the girls ran 30 minutes later. Havelock’s normal course also had to be changed to avoid mud puddles.
Bruns said the changes didn’t impact his run and he had no problems with the wet conditions. He is just looking to get better by the conference championship in another month and for the eastern regionals at the end of the month.
"I’m still not in my prime yet," he said. "I’ve still got practice to go. We just now started speed trials. It’s been just basically running miles until now."
Ethan Feldt was Havelock’s second runner and finished seventh overall in 18:02. Rounding out Havelock’s top six scoring positions were Jeremy Prichard (14th, 18:47), Alejandro Nava (22nd, 19:49), Ethan Chirico (29th, 20:10) and Rodney Prichard (31st, 20:17).
West Carteret’s John Crossley was the overall winner, besting the field of 65 runners in a time of 16:17.
"The boys team still has a lot of work to do," Bruns said. "The girls team is amazing. They’re looking really good."
Havelock’s girls also placed second, totaling 55 points. West Carteret won the meet with 19 points, while South Central was third with 63 points. Washington did not have enough runners to post a team score.
Havelock had its top six runners all place within the top 20 of the 40-runner field, led by Caitlin Annunziata, who finished sixth overall in 20:32 despite sore shins.
"The girls are definitely being consistent," Garvey said. "They’ve taken second for two straight meets now. I’m seeing consistency and improvement."
Lisa Furness, a new student at Havelock, placed 10th overall in 21:33, followed by Alyssa McPike (12th, 22:48), Elizabeth Guevara (13th, 22:53), Savanna Thornton (19th, 23:32) and Ashley Turton (20th, 23:43).
Garvey said Furness has been a good addition to the team, McPike is consistently strong, and Guevara is making strides as a freshman.
"I’m seeing improvement," he said. "She’s moved from No. 7 to right now she’s our fourth runner. This was her best race so far."
Garvey said there is room for improvement with both teams, and he hopes times continue to drop as the season progresses.
"If we can get those times lower, we can get in a pack, and the pack wins," Garvey said. "The closer everyone is together, the better we’ll be. If we can bring up some closer to the top, we’ll be better off."
The Rams are next scheduled to run Wednesday at Washington.