By Carey Phillips


Smoky Mountain’s men came in first, and the women were second in the Individual Division on Friday at the Western North Carolina Cross Country Carnival at Hendersonville’s Jackson Park.

“Both teams did unbelievably well,” Coach Adam Phillips said. “I’m so proud of both teams.”

The men had five runners in the top 10, and the women had three in the top 10.

“It was a very hot day,” Phillips said. “I’m very impressed with their grit. They ran extremely hard.”

The SM men posted 24 points to Hendersonville’s 59. Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy was third with 65, followed by Asheville (74), Spring Valley (143), Kings Mountain (172) and Franklin (197).

Caleb Phillips was second for the Mustangs in 18:57. Zeb Mathis finished third in 20:03, and Parker Smith was fourth in 20:10. Completing the Mustangs’ top five were Aidan Menickelli, seventh, 20:59; and Coleman Hopfinger 10th, 21:16.

Thomas Jefferson won the women’s meet with 34 points to SM’s 63. Hendersonville was third with 70, followed by R-S Central (84), Avery (132) and Franklin (147).

Lily Buenting led the Lady Mustangs as she was fourth in 23:44. Rounding out the top five were:

Maia Wilde, sixth 24:02; Sophia Ammons, ninth, 24:39; Morgana McCollough, 29th, 29:21; and Jainy Hoang, 48th. 32:13

“We had some standouts in the 2-mile race,” Coach Phillips said.

He said Vanessa Saldago was third for the women in 14:38, and Drew Poston was 32nd for the men in 14:45.