The stakes were high Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina, as many of the best runners and teams in the region matched-up at the Wendy's Invitational. For quite a while now, Wendy's marks the near completion of the regular season, as the post-season/state series meets start. The match-up of the day pit Griff Graves v. Ryan Hill, in a great dual between two Foot Locker finalists. Read what took place.
MileSplit's Wendy's Invitational - Meet Wrap-Up
While few key individual match-ups occurred throughout the nation this past weekend, one that did take place was Ryan Hill (Sr., Hickory, NC) v. Griff Graves (Sr., Abingdon, VA). Both seniors knew that this race would prove a lot the rest of the season. With both athletes running well, it was anyone's guess as to who would win.
From the start, Graves and Hill took the lead. Each runner wanted to prove who the better man was. When Graves made his move, Hill tried to respond, but at the end of the race, Graves won convincingly, beating Hill for the title 15:09-15:20. With big wins all across the nation (IL, VA, NC), Graves is one to keep an eye on as the season draws closer to Foot Locker.
In the invitational race, two Foot Locker regional contenders squared off, as Taylor Gilland (Jr., Chapel Hill, NC) and Nick Graw (So., Enloe, NC) flashed a glimpse of the top national contenders next season. Over the 5k spread, Gilland and Graw ran stride for stride, each wanting to prove they were the main challenger to Hill as best in North Carolina. Over the final mile, Gilland proved best, winning by four seconds in 15:17, while Graw ran strong for second. With Graw's first place finish, Enloe won the boys team title with 104 points, beating the second place squad by 15 points.
In the girls 3A race, Cardinal Gibbons (NC) showed why they are one of the top teams around, as they beat a strong field. Their leader, Heather Beichner, won the individual title in a great time of 18:35..
The best time of the day came in the invitational race, in the closest race of the day, where Alyssa Kulik (Sr., Mauldin) ran 18:34, beating runner-up Kate Borowicz (Jr., JL Mann) by two seconds. Kulik's win also led her team to the team title. Mauldin won a very close match-up between the top three teams. Mauldin won with 120 points, while TC Roberson scored 122 for second, and Chapel Hill scored 123 points for third. A very intense team race, and the best race of the day. The top time of the day came from Mary Kate DuBard, who ran 18:11 in the open race.