Laine Roberts, Abby Thorpe Lead JAC Athletes At NCRunners Holiday Invitational

The Jacksonville Athletic Club brought nine local athletes (five girls and four boys) to the Tarheel State for the NCRunners Holiday Invitational. The event was held at the JDL Fast Track in Winston Salem and gave them a taste of indoor competition.

"We always love going up to this meet as a reward for all of the athletes who have been training with us this fall," said Coach Eli Sunquist. "This was the first indoor meet for four of our athletes, so it was neat for them to have that experience."

The highlights of the trip were Bolles sophomore Laine Roberts in the pole vault and Creekside senior Abby Thorpe in all three of her events. Roberts, who was third at the meet last year and went onto finish as the 2A runner-up at state, dominated the small field with a mark of 11'9". 

"Laine had a nice season opener, also jumping a New Balance qualifying mark to win the meet," Sunquist added. "She was able to jump on her biggest pole and had a few near misses at 12'4". I think with a few more meets under her belt, we will see some big improvements from her."

Thorpe, who recently signed with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, also stood out to Sunquist. She ran a huge personal best in the 55mH running 8.93 to win her heat, a vast improvement from her 10.16 last year. It was a great job balancing both the high jump and the hurdles that were going on at the same time.

"Her 5'5" high jump was a good confidence builder for her and a New Balance qualifying mark," her coach told us. "I was also impressed with her triple jump, as she only jumped from a short approach and never hit the board. There is a lot of room for improvements there as well."

Sunquist went onto say that both athletes have trained religiously this fall so it is no surprise to the coaching staff why they are doing so well. The group will compete at the Embry Riddle next month and Roberts and her vaulting companions will head to the mall vault in February.

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