Harnett Central runner Greyson Culbreth is named Player of the Week for Oct. 18-23. He explains his photo finish during the All American Conference boys cross country final.
Central runner Greyson Culbreth could hear the raucous roars echo from the steel bleachers as he found himself neck and neck with Western Harnett’s Preston Gantt, approaching the finish line of last week’s All American Conference boys cross country final at Overhills.
With second place on the line, the Trojans senior used the energy of those supporting from the stands to create a memorable moment.
“At the last 800 meters ... I was like, ‘I don’t care if I win or lose this race, I’m just gonna give it all I got,’” Culbreth said.
“When we came down the final hill, I was thinking about everyone that came out for me. I saw him (Gantt) looking back and I knew I had a little left in me– put in next gear and tried to go for it.”
Culbreth’s final push was a success as he narrowly inched past Gantt, finishing the 5,000-meter race in 17 minutes, 36 seconds.
“I was just running and he came out of nowhere,” Gantt said of Culbreth, who he had battled with in previous meets throughout the regular season.
“I was just trying to stick with him and then the last 1/2 mile, that’s when I tried to make a move and I just couldn’t gain any more distance.”
For Culbreth, the second-place finish and all-conference nod were months in the making. Before the fall, he became more committed to running, knowing it would be his final prep season.
Despite losing the only coach he’s run for in his career during the offseason, the Trojans standout was pleased to see he and his teammates overcome all the challenges and take the first-ever AAC title.
“It’s been tough, with the last two years being kind of crazy. But, really, this is the first year that we the conference championship since I’ve been here, so that’s really awesome,” Culbreth said.
“And I’m glad that I could have such an exciting final race ... I’m definitely, very happy of my performance individually, but also as a team.”
Now, he’ll join six other Trojans at this weekend’s 3A regional in Pittsboro with the possibility of making his first state-title appearance.
“I didn’t have super-high hopes about going to states or anything, but as the season progressed– seeing the team come close and really seeing how committed everyone was was really inspiring to help me get through the end,” he said.
Below are Culbreth’s responses to a list of fun questions from The Daily Record staff.
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: Plumtree, N.C.
FAVORITE TV SHOW OF ALL TIME: “The Flash”
FAVOITE ATHLETE: Ben Roethlisberger
FAVORITE FOOD: Lasagna