Northwood sets a number of personal records in first home meet since 2018

Posted 5/19/21

PITTSBORO — Over the last few years, Northwood’s football field has been the primary vessel for Chargers competition.

In the process, it’s been battered, torn up, stomped on and soaked with …

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Northwood sets a number of personal records in first home meet since 2018

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PITTSBORO — Over the last few years, Northwood’s football field has been the primary vessel for Chargers competition.

In the process, it’s been battered, torn up, stomped on and soaked with mud and bodily fluids through a plethora of wins, losses and draws across the sports landscape.

Throughout all of the sports played on that field, the track surrounding it has remained mostly dormant, minus the occasional track practice, mid-game cheerleading routine and other miscellaneous activities.

On Thursday, though, after three long years, the charcoal-colored surface became the main focus of a sporting event: Northwood hosted its first home track and field meet since 2018, this time against Big-8 conference opponents Cedar Ridge, East Chapel Hill and Northern Durham.

By all accounts, the track handled it well.

“This is my first home meet that I’ve held here, but I thought it ran very smoothly,” said Cameron Isenhour, Northwood’s head track and cross country coach, hired in 2019. “It’s a lot of work setting up the hurdles, making the heat sheets, making the score sheets, tallying the scores, timing the starts, but it’s well worth it.”

During Thursday’s Big-8 Quad Meet, the track saw plenty of action — 33 total events — and a few venue records broken, including one by Chargers junior Caroline Murrell, whose 2:26.00 time set the record in the girls 800-meter run on Northwood’s track.

East Chapel Hill, the first-place finishers in both the women’s (90.17 points) and men’s (78 points) team scores, set two women’s venue records of its own as sophomore Anna Ivanisevic ran a time of 11:21.00 in the girls’ 3200-meter run and the relay team of Ivanisevic, freshman Eliza Gilliom, sophomore Sofia Cagnoni and sophomore Margaret Sept earned a 10:20.10 time in the girls’ 4x800 meter relay.

As a team, the Chargers finished second in both the men’s (72 points) and women’s events (63.5 points), setting 45 different personal records in the process, 19 on the women’s side and 26 on the men’s.

Even for those who didn’t earn first-place honors in an event, it wasn’t a bad day.

One of the major highlights for the Chargers was the girls 4x800 meter relay team — consisting of junior Caroline Yell, senior Liv Riggsbee, senior Tessa Yell, Murrell and junior Emma Serrano — qualifying for the 3A Mideast regionals based on their time of 10:23.70. They placed second in the event.

Each season, the NCHSAA sets regional qualifying standards for 18 different events that, if met, allows an individual or team to participate in regionals at the end of the regular season.

Northwood’s girls 4x800 meter relay team cleared the standard time of 10:30.00 by nearly seven seconds, punching its regionals ticket and joining the boys 4x800 meter relay team (8:28.47) and Murrell (girls 1600-meter run, 5:14.03), both of which qualified on May 6 in a meet in Chapel Hill. Murrell has also qualified for the 800-meter run and 3200-meter run.

If Isenhour’s making predictions, they won’t be the only ones.

“I think Tessa Yell could definitely end up qualifying in the girls 3200(-meter run),” Isenhour said. “And then Malachi (Levy) and Colin (Henry) could definitely get in the mile (boys 1600-meter run).”

In total, Northwood had eight individual first-place finishers in the Big-8 Quad Meet, including:

• Junior Charlotte Cantrell (girls 200-meter dash, 26.60)

• Senior Liv Riggsbee (girls discus throw, 82-03)

• Junior Kennedy Poston (girls shot put, 27-02)

• Junior Caroline Murrell (girls 800-meter run, 2:26.00)

• Senior Elijah Miller (boys 100-meter dash, 11.10)

• Senior Malachi Levy (boys 800-meter run, 2:09.60)

• Sophomore Jack Nicholson (boys long jump, 18-04.50)

• Senior Jacob McCall (boys pole vault, 10-00)

Murrell has been one of the standouts for the Chargers this season and on Thursday, she proved why.

Midway through the girls 800-meter run, Murrell trailed Northern Durham junior Catherine Kiplagat and East Chapel Hill sophomore Margaret Sept for the lead by a few steps, appearing as if she might be bound for a third-place finish.

But after running another 100 meters, Murrell squeezed her way past them and took a sizable lead in mere seconds. By the time the race was over, she had beaten them by 8.2 and 9.3 seconds, respectively, setting her own personal record for the 800-meter run in the process.

“She has that mentality of a go-getter,” Isenhour said. “She was sitting behind two girls for about 450 meters, then she made her move, accelerated out of the turn and left them in the dust. … She has a quick cadence and a phenomenal form. She’s a phenomenal runner.”

Later in the meet, as events were still taking place, Murrell could be seen running around the track in idle moments, going through workouts despite having run in a couple of events earlier in the day. Isenhour said she’ll miss the next two meets to prepare for the SAT, so it’s best to go ahead and get “a little work in” now.

Due to the cancellation of the Big-8 Conference Championship meet, which was cut to make the season shorter, Northwood has two regular-season meets left — a dual meet against Southern Durham on Thursday, May 20, and a tri-meet with Orange and Cedar Ridge on May 27, both at home — before NCHSAA 3A Mideast Regionals on June 19 in Sanford, meaning the Chargers still have a couple of opportunities for runners to qualify for postseason competition.

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic in Pittsboro.

“I’m fairly happy with how we’re doing with our competition so far,” Isenhour said. “I wish we had a conference championship meet to see how we do at the end, but our distance teams, I’m really quite proud of … they’ve really been turning it on in hopes of winning that state championship.”

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.


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