What else can I say about the West Carteret and Croatan cross country teams that I haven’t already said?

Probably nothing.

It’s certainly difficult to come up with new ways to describe how impressive they continue to be.

The West girls claimed their 17th conference championship in a row last week.

To put that in perspective, this streak began the year some of the seniors on the team were born. The Patriots have won a league title every year most of the team members have been alive.

There can’t be too many conference championship streaks in the N.C. High School Athletic Association that are beyond this level.

I’ve only heard of one.

The Greene Central girls tennis team has won 26 consecutive league titles.

West would have another outstanding streak at the regional level if not for Topsail.

The Patriots went for their eighth regional crown in a row in 2017, but the Pirates eked out a win by four points. West took last year’s regional meet and now aims to earn their ninth title in 10 years this Saturday.

In 10 days, the Morehead City club will look to keep another streak alive when it takes the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex course in Kernersville.

The Patriots will try to finish in the top-10 at the state meet for the 13th straight year and will vie for a top-seven finish for the seventh straight year. They took seventh last year after finishing fourth, sixth, fifth, third, seventh and third in the previous six years.

The West boys haven’t been able to match the achievements of the girls, but they’ve had plenty of success in their own right, winning six of the past nine conference titles while placing in the top five at the regional in each of the past four years.

The girls have also been the traditional power at Croatan since the school opened in 1998.

The Cougars have won the last seven conference crowns and gained the top spot in the league in 15 of the past 19 seasons.

That isn’t too shabby for a program in its 22nd year.

They’ve also earned 11 east regional titles in that time with eight of those coming during a nine-year run from 2001-2009.

Croatan had won two east regional crowns in a row before First Flight took two in a row. The seesaw battle has continued with Croatan now taking the last two.

The Cougars have also finished in the top 10 of the state on 15 occasions.  The club was twice a state runner-up (2009, 2013), and it took fourth in back-to-back seasons (2003-2004).

Last year’s club finished in the top 10 at the state meet for the sixth consecutive year, taking sixth. Croatan placed 10th, ninth, eighth, seventh and second in the previous five years.

Like at West, the Croatan boys haven’t quite been able to rival the girls’ accomplishments.

The 2018 squad produced the program’s top outing in 13 seasons with a sixth-place state finish, and then last year’s team replicated that outing. The squad also took sixth in 2016.

Croatan previously hadn’t finished in the top six at the state meet since 2003 when it took fourth. The best finish in program history came in 2002 with a runner-up honor.

(Send comments or questions to jj@thenewstimes.com or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)

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