Hoggard, Laney runners capture Player of the Year honors in cross-country

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As postseason accolades continue to roll in for our local student-athletes this fall, Robinson Snider (Hoggard) and Natalie Tyner (Laney) were recently named Mideastern Conference Cross-Country Runners of the Year following a vote by the league’s seven coaches.

Robinson Snider, right, and Jamie Witmer took First-Team All-Conference honors.
Robinson Snider, right, and Jamie Witmer took First-Team All-Conference honors.

Snider guided Hoggard to a 10th place finish at the 4A North Carolina High School Athletic Association meet, while securing the Mideastern Conference and New Hanover County Championships as an individual. The Vikings clinched the top spot in the regional thanks to a pair of top five finishes for Snider and Jamie Witmer. Snider closed at 16:20.56 to place runner up at Boyd Lee Park in Winterville.

Witmer joins Snider as a First-Team Mideastern Conference member, while Xavier McKinley and Henry Kusz represent New Hanover on the list. Kunsz and McKinley landed in the top 10 at this year’s regoinal to give New Hanover the fourth and final qualifying spot for the state meet.

Topsail’s Trent Pyrtle and Chad Campbell round out First-Team All-Conference selections along with Jack Palagruto of South Brunswick. All three athletes ran in the 3A state meet as Pyrtle placed second at this year’s Mideastern Conference meet held at Hugh McRae Park.

The Pirates placed sixth out of the 16 teams competing at the NCHSAA race in Kernersville as Campbell placed 19th overall, completing the 3.1 mile trek in 17:14.54. Pyrtle (17:29.57) took 27th of the 140 runners to cross the finish line and Palagruto finished 50th overall, with a time of under 18 minutes.

The Laney girls captured the team title this season.
The Laney girls captured the team title this season.

Freshman Natalie Tyner made a huge impact on the running landscape this season as the first-year competitor took first place at the Mideastern Conference and New Hanover County races, while helping Laney to a league title and spot in the state meet.

Tyner placed 26th at the state meet at 20:05.33 as the Bucs took 13th place. Teammates Haley Smithwick and Cameron Smithwick also grabbed a spot as First-Team All-Conference members, along with Hoggard’s Sara Pellazarri and Lilli Johnson.

Tyner also had a third place finish at the 4A regional to put Laney in position for the state meet.

Each Wilmington school had representation on the all-conference team as Julia Boudreau (Ashley) and Charlotte Jones (New Hanover) were named to the first-team.

 Boys Cross Country

Player of the Year: Robinson Snider, Hoggard

Co-Coaches of the Year: Billy Mason, Hoggard & Wayne Rogers, Topsail

Co-Team Sportsmanship Awards: Laney & South Brunswick

First Team

  • Robinson Snider, Hoggard
  • Trent Pyrtle, Topsail
  • Henry Kunz, New Hanover
  • Chad Campbell, Topsail
  • Jamie Witmer, Hoggard
  • Xavier McKinley, New Hanover
  • Jack Palagruto, South Brunswick


Girls Cross Country

Player of the Year: Natalie Tyner, Laney

Coach of the Year: Sam Bobbitt, Laney

Team Sportsmanship Award: Laney

First Team

  • Natalie Tyner, Laney
  • Sara Pellazzari, Hoggard
  • Cameron Smithwick, Laney
  • Haley Smithwick, Laney
  • Lilli Johnson, Hoggard
  • Julia Boudreau, Ashley
  • Charlotte Jones, New Hanover