Lady Panthers are 3A Regional champs; take runner up at state

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Dan Finnerty

Franklin High School (FHS) Principal Blair King referred to May 11 as a “phenomenal day” because at the NCHSAA 3A West Regional Meet in Asheville, the Lady Panthers won the 3A West Regional Championship while dominating the meet with an outstanding 114 points. The next closest team only managed 78. That day, the Lady Panthers also scored several state placers, individual regional champions, broken records, and podium finishes.

The Franklin High Men’s Team also fared well with a 3A West Regional Runner-up finish and several state placers, regional champions, and podium finishes.

Just nine days later on May 20 another “phenomenal day” occurred when as a team, the FHS Lady Panthers became the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A Runners Up for 2024 and Senior Rylee Cassada was awarded the NCHSAA Sportsmanship Award.

At the State Championships, held last Monday in Greensboro, N.C., several Panthers came away with noteworthy accomplishments, with the top finishers coming from the Field Events side. Boston Stringer took silver (second place) in the Pole Vault with a jump of 11-00.00, and Aaron Jennings finished second with a 13-06.00. Charley Seagle finished fourth in the Shot Put with a distance of 37-09.00 and Claire Ballard finished seventh in the Girls Discus with a 105-03m (meter) throw. Lastly, in the High Jump, Justus Bradford took fifth for the girls with a 5-02.00, while C.J. Engert had height of 6-00.00 to tie for 10th place for the boys.

The Girls 4x800m Relay team of Mindi Holbrooks, Morgan Cress, Abigail Pope, and Amy Mendoza Lopez, finished sixth in the state with a time of 10:10.57, while the men (Cooper Tyler, Barret Stork, Matheson Post, and Logan Russo) took eighth in the same category.

Laura Covarrubias took ninth in the Girls 100m Hurdles (15.26), eighth in the 300m Hurdles (48.13), and was also part of the fifth place 4x200m Relay team that also included Michelle Ortega, Anna Timan, and Hope Smith.

Morgan Cress placed ninth in the Girls 1600m with a time of 5:23.65. The Girls 4x100m Relay team of Ortega, Smith, Audrey Pressley, and Timan finished sixth with a 49.73 time. In the 4x400m relay, the Lady Panthers finished third with the team of Rylee Cassada, Mendoza Lopez, Covarrubias, and Smith. For the boys, seventh place was the result in the 4×400, with the team of Cochran, Justin Rodriquez, Ken Modlin, and Russo.

In the Boys 400m individual race, Justin Rodriquez came in sixth with a time of 50.11, while Logan Russo placed 11th in the 800m with a 2:01.11 time.

In the Girls 3200m run, Freshman Morgan Cress finished fourth in the state with a 11:31.54 time, less than four seconds from finishing for the bronze.