MOREHEAD CITY — Jenna Reiter accomplished something Saturday that had only been done by one other county runner.
The West Carteret senior earned all-state status for the fourth year in a row at the 3A cross country meet with a seventh-place finish.
Former West standout Emme Fisher reached that status first in 2017.
“It’s an honor,” Reiter said. “It feels good to do that like Emme.”
Fisher won a state title as a senior after taking sixth, third and seventh in her previous three seasons. Reiter took third as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore and eighth as a junior.
Three years ago, realignment made it tougher to win in 2A and 3A. Before, the four divisions were broken down 25-25-25-25, but now it’s a 20-30-30-20 ratio, stacking the two middle divisions with talent.
This year was even more talent-stacked in 3A with West coach Shelton Mayo calling it the strongest girls field of any state championship meet ever in any classification.
To put it in perspective, Reiter took seventh Saturday in the 3A meet in 18 minutes, 16 seconds, which broke her record for a West girls runner at a state championship by two seconds. Had she been in the 4A race, she would have been the runner-up by nearly nine seconds, trailing only Carmen Alder of Pinecrest who finished in 17:58.
“That is kind of crazy,” Reiter said. “I knew there was going to be a lot of competition, but I had confidence. I like that it’s that way because I know it isn’t going to be easy in college. I’m OK with that, facing good runners.”
She will continue to go up against tough competition next year when she runs for UNC-Greensboro. Reiter picked that program before the season after also considering UNC-Charlotte and East Carolina.
“It was definitely a relief, having that decided already,” she said. “Because I was really torn. I had to call the other schools and tell them I had signed with another college after they had been recruiting me for a year, and that was really difficult.”
A standout student with a 3.83 GPA, she plans on majoring in the medical field and is considering nursing or exercise science.
“I’ve been interested in the medical my whole life,” she said. “My mom is a nurse. I find it interesting. I’m taking biomedical science right now, and it is definitely my favorite class.”
Reiter has registered one of the top cross country careers in Patriots history, winning the Coastal Conference championship on three occasions and adding a regional title to her credit.
West won the league title in each of her four seasons – the program has captured the conference crown for 17 consecutive seasons – and took three of four regional championships.
The Patriots earned the win in the regional meet this season with 34 points. Topsail was the runner-up with 58.
The West and Topsail girls had matched up in two previous races with the Patriots taking sixth and the Pirates 10th at the NC Runners Invitational and the Pirates taking second and the Patriots third at the Bo Run.
West took the third matchups after five of its runners made all-region by finishing in the top 10 and four finished within the 20-minute barrier.
“That was a really cool race. Everyone was getting a PR (personal record)” Reiter said. “I was really proud of the team for the way they performed that day. It was amazing.”
The Patriots also claimed a top-10 finish at the state meet in each of Reiter’s four seasons – they’ve reached that status for 13 straight years – taking seventh, seventh, ninth and third.
She will now set her sights on track season. Reiter captured an individual medal as a freshman at the state meet, taking third in the 3,200-meter run in 11:32.
“Track has been weird,” she said. “It seems like I’ve always had something going on, like nagging injuries. I’m ready to finally get some new PRs in track.”
The senior runner said she wants to break 5 minutes in the 1-mile, 11 minutes in the 3,200 and the school record of 2:58 in the 1,000.
Here are a few of Reiter’s favorite things, as well as her ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse and the five items she would take with her on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “The Lion King.”
Favorite TV Show: “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Favorite Cartoon: “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Daniel Caesar.
Favorite Album: “Freudian” by Daniel Caesar.
Favorite Book: Holes by Louis Sachar.
Favorite Vacation: Hawaii.
Favorite Hobby: Basketball.
Favorite Subject: Biomedical science.
Favorite Quote: “Endurance is your steadfast ability to continue despite hardship.”
Favorite Food: Strawberries.
Favorite Drink: Water.
Favorite Restaurant: Chick-fil-A.
Favorite Season: Fall.
Favorite Sports Memory: Winning conference as a team for the 17th consecutive year.
Favorite Teacher: Ms. Joanna Miller.
Favorite Sport: Cross country.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Coach (Shelton) Mayo pouring water on our wrists.
Favorite Website/App: Netflix.
Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: NCRunners.
Ideal Group To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Jack Lindstrom, Arianna Wolkerstorfer, Bowen Ellis, Josh Marson, Nate Westbrook and coach Joanna Miller.
Items For A Deserted Island: Machete, lighter, rope, tent and water filter.