Before the recent Jungle Run night cross country race at South View High School, host coach Jesse Autry predicted that Cape Fear’s young squad could pose a challenge to other teams in the new Patriot Athletic Conference.
The results of the race proved Autry right.
The Cape Fear boys placed second in the developmental race behind Chapel Hill, scoring 44 points to 22 for the winners. Juan Alvarado and Colton Danks were third and fourth in the race for Cape Fear, Alvarado with a time of 18:07.27 and Danks 18:23.02.
Cape Fear was third in the girls’ developmental race, led by Adriana Alvarado in seventh place with a 22:29.73. In the girls’ championship race, Cape Fear’s Beth Ketterman placed 12th with a time of 19:45.12.
Cape Fear boys’ coach Matthew Hanes felt his team had the potential to do well this year. “We had three of the top five ninth grader times last year,” Hanes said. “Two of my top five times from last season were soccer players who converted full-time to cross country this season.”
Emily Freeman, who coaches the girls, was equally impressed with her squad’s showing in the Jungle Run. “Beth (Ketterman) did a personal best,” Freeman said. “We gave her a goal of breaking 20 minutes.”
Ketterman said the whole squad has been focused during workouts along with staying motivated and training hard. “I want to make the state meet,” she said. “It’s the highest level I can achieve in the sport in high school.”
Juan Alvarado was hoping to break 18 minutes in his race but fell just seven seconds short. “I’ve been focusing on workouts and getting mileage in,” he said. “I feel as a team we’ve worked harder and been getting better, focusing on higher goals.”
Hanes said running a 5K like the Jungle Run to start the season is a great early evaluator and gives the whole team valuable experience at big competitions to come later in the year.
“No matter what you do or how you train, you really don’t know where you stand until you get that race under your belt,” he said. “That’s especially true for those who haven’t run a 5K before.”
Hanes said the Colts are in a better position to start this season than they were this time last year.
“If they progress at the same rate they progressed last season, I really expect us to have a shot to run at the state meet for both the guys and the girls,” he said.