All-Area Boys Cross Country
Mon. December 17, 2012 at 6:35 p.m. | By McLeod Brown | StarNews Correspondent | firstname.lastname@example.org
New Hanover cross country runner George Webb, with his photo run through Instagram, an online photo filter and sharing service. (Photo by Paul Stephen)
George Webb always knew he was fast.
Playing soccer as a freshman and sophomore at New Hanover High School, this year's StarNews All-Area Player of the Year for boys cross country could tell he was quick enough to outrun anyone.
However, it would take a little nudge from his peers for Webb to take true advantage of his skills.
"We had a couple boys on the soccer team that ran track in the spring and they told us about him," said coach Nolan Tobey. "They said he was first in all the conditioning drills they did. So we pushed him to come give track and cross country a try."
Good thing they did, as Webb began to show flashes of excellence in both sports.
"My friends convinced me to run track my sophomore year," Webb said. "After that, I just really enjoyed the whole team atmosphere; there was a fantastic coach, my coach Nolan Tobey. They convinced me after a pretty good track season to quit soccer and run cross country."
An illness kept Webb's first season of cross country from reaching its goals, but a trip to the Class 4A state track meet in the spring put him in line to do something special as a senior.
"Coming into this year, we were pushing George to see if he could be one of the fastest guys in school history," Tobey said.
However, Webb personally was not so sure of what was to come.
"I was hoping to be one of the fastest people in the area," Webb said. "I didn't expect to win conference, but I was hoping to."
Webb and Laney's Calvin Daughtry were neck and neck for much of the season in the battle for top runner in the Mideastern Conference. Daughtry even defeated Webb by one second at the New Hanover County Championship meet.
But at the conference championship, Webb made easy work of the opposition, placing first by more than 13 seconds. He followed that performance with a fifth-place finish at regionals, then finished his high school cross country career with a personal best of 16 minutes, 13.96 seconds at the Class 4A state meet, good enough for 36th place.
"I think dedication has been key," Webb said. "I run almost every day, in season or off-season. I make sure I run every day even if I don't have anyone to run with. Wherever I am, I try to get out."
His success in cross country this season also has Webb optimistic for the spring and track.
"I'm looking forward to the two-mile," he said. "It's my goal to break the school record. I won conference last year, so hopefully I'll win again."
Whether he does that remains to be seen. However, to Tobey, Webb has already become one of New Hanover's best runners.
"George is great," Tobey said. "He runs on his own when he's supposed to. He's a hard worker and he loves the sport. He's been one of the best we've ever had."
All-Area Cross Country
George Webb, Jr., New Hanover (Player of the Year): Won the Mideastern Conference individual championship and finished 21st in the 4A state championship race in 16:13. Led New Hanover to a fourth-place team finish in the 4A east regional.
Calvin Daughtry, Sr., Laney: Won New Hanover County individual championship and finished 30th in the 4A championships (16:30).
Joe Harty, Jr., Ashley: Average time of 17:35.
Brien Lancaster, Jr., Ashley: Led Ashley to its second straight conference title, a third-place finish in the 4A East regional and finished sixth individually at 4A east regional.
Ben Schmidt, Fr., Hoggard: Finished 14th at 4A east regional with a time of 16:55.
Bryan Veals, Sr., Ashley: Finished 19th in 4A east regional with a time of 17:08. Average time of 17:27.
Brady Woods, Sr., Topsail: Led Topsail to an East Central Conference championship and a second-place finish in the 2A East regional. Finished in 17:47 at Regional meet.
First Team–Calvin Daughtry, Laney; Joseph Harty, Ashley; Brien Lancaster, Ashley; Ben Schmidt, Hoggard; Brian Veals, Ashley; George Webb, New Hanover; Frank Wood, New Bern.
Second Team–Jackson Denton, New Hanover; Andrew Irrera, Hoggard; Daniel Lancaster, Ashley; Will Mayo, Ashley; Graham Parker, Hoggard; Nathan Sudduth, Hoggard; Marcellous White, New Bern
Player of the year: George Webb, New Hanover. Coach of the year: Shawn McKee, Ashley
South Brunswick–Grant Hufham, Thomas Eichorn, Jack Palagruto, Tyler Bryant. West Brunswick–Spencer Waters, Lance Watts, Austin Hayes, BJ Bellamy, Allan Pluger.
East Central Conference
Croatan–Nick Pugh. Topsail–Brady Woods, Jackson Moore, Christian Dickens, Domenick Dibiase. East Duplin–Sergio Guzman. Richlands–Isaac Martinez, Dillon Emch, Maximino Smith. South Lenoir–Mason Zeagler. Swansboro–Reid Henderson, Bryan Mol.
Cape Fear Independent Conference
Cape Fear Academy: Ben Jackson, Alex Nadaud, Cameron Stephens, Worth Mercer