The Cuthbertson Middle School Cavaliers have been on quite a run the past
few years in building a winning culture in both cross country and track and field.
Since the spring of 2012, the CMS track team has won 20 consecutive meets,
while the Boys’ cross country team has opened its 2015 season notching its 17th
and 18th consecutive victories over the same period. Not to be outdone, the Girls’
team also opened the season with 2 convincing wins, placing 1st through 4th in its
opener against a very tough Weddington team.

It’s never easy to rebuild season-to-season, but this year has posed a particular
challenge for the Cavs. For the Boys, the team lost 4 of its Top 5 runners to
high school; each went on this fall to earn a spot on the high school varsity team
as a Freshman. The only returning runner from that group was 8th grade leader,
Josh Nemitz. And as fate would have it, Nemitz has battled injury all summer
and has had to lend his leadership from the sidelines. The Girls return more Top
5 runners from last year’s team; however all were 6th graders last year and have
had to grow up fast.


And thus, the current Top 5 Boys and Girls are very young, and are gaining experience
on the fly. Fortunately, all have bought into the Cuthbertson program,
which includes an active summer schedule running with the team in voluntary
group runs, races and pool parties. In fact, the team had 52 athletes and family
members competing in the July XTERRA 4-Mile Trail Race at the US National
Whitewater Center, with Cavs sweeping the age group awards. Seventh-grader
Tori Bridgforth even placed 3rd overall female against seasoned competition, and
several Cav parents and siblings won awards in their own age groups. According
to Kirk Walsh, 4th year Head Coach, “there is a real sense of community when it
comes to running with this team. It starts in the summer, when we’re just a large
group of friends, athletes, parents, and siblings choosing to spend time doing
healthy things together. And it continues past the middle school years, as several
alumni continue to run with the summer group year after year. When we decide
to do something together as a group, we tend to take over the venue.”

In spite of the uncertainty of the young team, the current Boys’ and Girls’
squads have developed fast and each opened the season in convincing fashion.
The 2015 Boys are led by 8th grader, Davis Seik. Seik had a breakout spring
track season, and validated his progress on August 27th setting a new CMS cross
country course record 3K time of 10:40 in the season-opening dual meet with
Weddington. The rest of the Top 5 Boys are all 7th graders, including Evan Zottl,
Michael Garrity, William Walsh and Shaun Raughley. For the Girls, the top of
the pack has a similar composition, with 8th grader Annalise Furr and 7th graders
Madeline Hill, Leah Helms, Tori Bridgforth, Jordan Browning, Kelly Poole,
Kendall Gallagher and Gianna Giglio leading the team.

According to Walsh, “there’s no question this is the best Girls’ cross country
team I’ve ever been around. And seven of our top eight are 7th graders. Annalise
was a transfer this summer, and what a blessing it’s been to have her calming 8th
grade presence on the trail. I’ve really enjoyed watching the girls work together
in the early going this season, and to see them finish 1st through 4th in a pack
that first meet was really special. And then the boys coming out of the gate like
they have, we just really feel grateful that the hard work has translated well in the