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Results and Photos of Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Athletic Events

July 15, 2013. Did you miss the action of the Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain? No worries, here is a review of the marathon that started in Boone and ended 26.2 miles later in Linville and the other athletic events that took place. Look out for some great photos by Skip Sickler.

Both the male and female top finishers in the 45th Annual Grandfather Mountain Marathon were first-time participants.  Other podium finishers had experience in this famously difficult marathon.  Runners began the race at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone N.C. and then ran 26.2 grueling miles to the finish line in MacRae Meadows at the base of Grandfather Mountain.

(L-R) 3rd place male Glen Mays, 1st place male Brian Deal, 2nd place male Stephen Cowie. Photo by Skip Sickler

First-time participant Brian Deal was the Marathon winner with a time of 2:44.4.  Deal, 28, lives in St. Louis, Mo. and went to school at Appalachian State University in Boone.  The race was a good chance for him to have a reunion with many college friends and to visit the High Country.

“The scenery along the route was incredible,” said Deal.  “If you are going to suffer through a tough run, this is the place to do it.

Second overall was Stephen Cowie, 36, from Greensboro, N.C.  Cowie finished the race with a time of 2:52.26.  This was Cowie’s sixth time competing in the Marathon and he has won it twice.  Cowie, who runs this race with friends, has also competed in marathons in San Diego, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond and Washington D.C.

Third place went to Glen Mays from Lexington, K.Y. This was Mays’ fourth attempt at the Grandfather Mountain Marathon.  He won the race in 2012.  Mays, a 42-year-old professor, finished with a time of 2:54.45.

The men’s record time still stands at 2:34:51 set by Michael Harrison in 1994.

Yu Tsuchida, 39, won first place in the women’s division.  Tsuchida is originally from Japan but works as a translator in Greensboro, N.C.  She finished 20th overall with a time of 3:20:48.7.

“I had heard from past Marathon participants that it was really difficult,” said Tsuchida.  “But I knew those same runners keep coming back so I had to check it out.”

The second woman to finish was Michelle McKenzie, 36, of Flowery Branch, G.A.  This was McKenzie’s first attempt at the Marathon and she admitted that the second half of the course with its steady incline was very difficult.  The dentist was inspired to run the race by a good friend who has run the past three years and lost 130 pounds.  She finished 25th overall with a time of 3:25:45.2.

Finishing third was Kelcey Carlson, 38, from Raleigh, N.C.  Carlson, an anchor at WRAL-TV is a fourth-time participant in this marathon.  She finished 30th overall with a time of 3:29:03.7 and said that getting close to the finish line and hearing the bagpipes is the best part.

“This is the marathon that I love to hate the most,”  said Carlson.  “I’m miserable while doing it but in the end I realize that it’s the best one that I run.”

The female record for the Grandfather Mountain Marathon remains at 3:01:54 set by Patti Shephard in 1997.

A total of 385 runners from 32 states, including Hawaii, lined up for the 45th Annual Grandfather Mountain Marathon.  The runners’ ages ranged from 17 to 76. The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games continue Sunday with a Scottish worship service, the Parade of Tartans and children’s competition in track and field. 

Harlfinger and Smith Win Track and Field Athletes of Games 

July 13, 2013. Matt Harlfinger captured the title of Male Track and Field Athlete of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games for the fourth year in a row, winning three of the nine competitions.  The 28-year-old Atlanta native and track coach at Western Carolina University won the 100-yard race, 220-yard race and the triple jump.

The women’s overall champion was 22-year-old Mara Smith, a graduate of Western Carolina University.  Smith was also the female top finisher in 2011.  Smith won the 440-yard race, 880-yard race and mile race in the women’s division.

Mara Smith, the female track and field winner of the 2013 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Photo by Skip Sickler


Matt Harlfinger, the male track and field winner of the 2013 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Photo by Skip Sickler


Track and Field Results

100 Yard Dash – Men

1.  Matt Harlfinger, Cullowhee, N.C.                                    10.40 seconds

2.  Gabriel Simerly, Johnson City, T.N.                                10.41 seconds

100 Yard Dash – Women

1.  Katherine Nihart, Banner Elk, N.C.                                  12.9 seconds

2.  Shannon Smith, Linville, N.C.                                          13 seconds

220 Yard Dash – Men

1.  Matt Harlfinger                                                                       24 seconds

2.  Dustin Triplett, Boomer, N.C.                                             25 seconds

220 Yard Dash – Women

1.  Shannon Smith                                                                        30.20 seconds

2.  Katherine Nihart                                                                     30.25 seconds

440 Yard Dash – Men

1.  Tyler Pennel, Blowing Rock, N.C.                                       1:00.2

2.  Gabriel Simerly                                                                          1:00.9

440 Yard Dash – Women

1.  Mara Smith, Maurertown, V.A.                                           1:09.00

2.  Shannon Smith                                                                        1:09.56

880 Yard Dash – Men

1.  Tyler Pennel                                                                              2 minutes and 23 seconds

2.  Mike Lawson, Claremont, N.C.                                          2 minutes and 41 seconds

880 Yard Dash – Women

1.  Mara Smith                                                                                3 minutes and 3.0 seconds

2.  Tapioca Provost, Sylva, N.C.                                                3 minutes and 3.9 seconds

Mile Run – Men

1.  Tyler Pennel                                                                              4 minutes and 57 seconds

2.  Mike Lawson                                                                            5 minutes and 39 seconds

Mile Run – Women

1.  Mara Smith                                                                                6 minutes and 2 seconds

2.  Katherine Nihart                                                                     6 minutes and 3 seconds

2 Mile Run – Men

1.  Tyler Pennel                                                                              11 minutes and 48.3 seconds

2.  Mike Lawson                                                                            12 minutes and 43 seconds

2 Mile Run – Women

1.  Tapioca Provost                                                                        15 minutes and 33 seconds

2.  Mara Smith                                                                                15 minutes and 34 seconds

Long Jump – Men

1.  Christian Carswell, Morganton, N.C.                                  20’ 2″

2.  Matt Harlfinger                                                                          18′ 10”

Long Jump – Women

1.  Shannon Smith                                                                           12′ 5 3/4″

2.  Shelley Kerr, LaFayette, G.A.                                                  11′ 6″

High Jump – Men

1.  Christian Carswell                                                                      6’ 2”

2.  Matt Harlfinger                                                                           5′ 10″

High Jump – Women

1.  Shelley Kerr                                                                                   4′ 6″

2.  Lacey Triplett, Boone, N.C.                                                       4′ 4″

Triple Jump- Men

1.  Matt Harlfinger                                                                           37′ 8.5″

2.  Dustin Triplett                                                                             36′ 1/2″

Triple Jump – Women

1.  Debra Domermuth                                                                     27′ 10 1/4″

2.  Shannon Smith                                                                          27′ 9 3/8″

Pole Vault – Men

1.  Dustin Triplett                                                                             14′ 0″

2.  Devon Wade, Johnson City, T.N.                                          13′ 6″

Pole Vault – Women and Men Masters

1.  Debra Domermuth                                                                     11′

2.  Alan Cox, Johnson City, T.N.                                               10′


Eric Frasure Earns First Place in Heavyweight Athletics

July 13, 2013. Fan favorite Eric Frasure, 28, of Charlotte, N.C. took home the first place title in heavyweight athletics at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Saturday.

Eric Frasure in the sheaf toss. He won this event. Photo by Skip Sickler

Frasure hasn’t missed a Grandfather Mountain Highland Games since he was 12 years old.  He tried out for the amateur heavyweight competition at the age of 14, qualified at the age of 15 and turned pro in 2007.

In college, Frasure competed in traditional track and field events at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Since then he’s been working as a State Investigator for the police of North Carolina.

Frasure has been training at CrossFit Allegiance in Denver, N.C. to stay competition ready as he works full time and pursues a master’s degree. 

Scottish Athletic Event Results 

56-Pound Weight Throw-for distance

1. Kerry Overfelt, Loratto, K.Y.                    42’ 1.5”          

2. Eric Frasure, Charlotte, N.C.                   40’ 1.5”


Clachneart (tossing a 16-pound stone)

1. Eric Frasure                                                   48’ 5”

2. Wes Kiser, Whitsett, N.C.                        43’ 1.5”


Sheaf (tossing a 20-pound sack of hay for height with a pitch fork)

1. Eric Frasure                                                   30’

2. Gene Flynn, Kitty Hawk, N.C.                 28’


Caber Toss (flipping a 20’, 120-pound telephone pole end over end)

1. Gene Flynn                                                    12:00 (2 of 3 tries)

2. Wes Kiser                                                      12:00 (1 of 3 tries)


22-Pound Hammer Throw

1. Kerry Overfelt                                                103’ 8”           

2. Michael Pockoski                                        102’ 8”           


28-Pound Weight Throw-for distance

1. Kerry Overfelt                                                77’ 4”

2. Eric Frasure                                                   77′ 0” 

Overall Winner: Eric Frasure