Several Memphis area athletes made some good impressions at the state meet this past Saturday. Probably the top of the crop was the Houston Girls team that scored a strong 132 points that was not enough to make the top of the podium, but good enough for the runner up spot. Finishing up the state meet with the fastest Memphis girls' time was Houston's outstanding freshman Lydia Tankersley.
Lydia ran a 19:25.41 that was good for ninth place overall in a very packed and talented D1 large school race. She also came into this meet with some confidence after finishing as runner up in the Region 8 meet the week prior. Typically the state course proves to be about 20 seconds or slower than most courses, but Lydia ran a couple seconds faster than the Region 8 course and bettered her 20:31 she ran on the same course earlier at the Jr Ward TN Classic in September. That's some impressive running by the young star.
Of course, not to be outdone, Houston's second runner for the team was fellow freshman Felicity Bost. Felicity ran to a 16th overall place in 19:40.32 that was also better than what she ran the course in earlier at the TN Classic (20:33.97). Felicity holds the 2K middle school record at the very competitive Brooks Twilight race that she set in 2014. So she has some pedigree and I would believe once she gets more comfortable in the 5K distance, will be one tough competitor for a long time!
Oh, yea, another Houston freshman, Madeline Harreld was right behind Felicity in another sub 20 performance with her 19:53.50! Lydia's sister, Anna was the fourth Houston girl in 20:22.93. And nope, Anna is not another freshman, this was Anna's last time running the state championship since she's a senior. But now here's a kicker, taking in the fifth team spot was... yep... another freshman! Meghan Turner turned in a quick 21:25.16 that wrapped up Houston's runner up spot in the championships. In the State championships, you're allowed to run seven and score five. Houston's 6th and 7th runners were Brenna Riseling (21:25) and Annabel Leonard (23:54). And guess what... these two are NOT freshman... but they are just sophomores! If you're thinking what I'm thinking... future of the Houston girls looks fairly promising... ya think!!
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention some of the best athletes we have in the region, like Skylar Boogerd who finishes in 19:45.56 which wasn't her fastest time here, but still a top 20 finish. My guess, we'll see Skylar making up time in the spring track season and next year at this meet.
And probably one of the most enthusiast athletes in the area, Chloe Willis, who finished in 33rd place with a time of 20.21 which was one of her best times at this meet. If you get five minutes with Chloe, you'll walk away feeling like you can conquer the world... her enthusiasm, positive outlook on just about everything, and her radiating smile is contagious and it was nice to see her finish in her best spot at this meet!
In the D2 Memphis small schools, St. George's seemed to be one really top team entering the state meet. They were predicted to be in the top three teams and they did just that with their 3rd place team title. With 3 girls running in the top ten overall, and one senior in their top five finishers, this is another young team that has future potential as well. Allison Newman was the first Gryphon to cross the line in 4th overall with a time of 20:09.36. A handful of seconds behind her was another freshman teammate Maggie Wilson in 20:45. Covering the course in 21:12 was sophomore Sarah McDonald that put a wrap on these three girls finishing in the top 10 for the division. Nice grouping for this young team!
First Assembly Christian's Abbie Baker (21:11) and Evangelical Christian's Holly Huffman (21:29) were the other Memphis area athletes that made the top ten overall in this division. That's five Memphis area athletes in the top ten overall, so not a bad showing there lady's!
The D2 large school local girl's teams didn't fare as well as the small school class with Briarcrest having the best team spot with their sixth place overall for the team. However, several of the individuals in this class did end up doing pretty well though. Briarcrest's Meghan Underwood posted a 20:20 time to come in third overall to wrap up a top three swing all by seniors. Meghan's time wasn't her best for the season, but it did top her best place at this State Championships and ended on a good uptick for her last cross country season as a high school athlete.
Nora Tillman of Hutchison was the next Memphis area finisher in 12th place with a 21:31 time. And then St. Agnes sophomore, Rebecca Calderoni (22:11) came in 18th overall to round out these three girls that made it into the top twenty for this division. With Rebecca leading the way, the St. Agnes team was the next best Memphis team to finish, seventh place just behind Briarcrest.
Looking next at the boys divisions, the best boys team out of all the divisions looks to be Bartlett this year. Their team had an average of 17:24 with a 0:51 for their 1-5 split. Collierville was just off that with a 17:24 average and a 0:58 1-5 split. That is very close indeed!
Although Collierville's top runner, Garrett Meier (17:00.28), came in ahead of Travis Jones of Bartlett, the Bartlett team had a much tighter grouping and was able to get the edge in the team competition. That edge was pretty thin though, with 207 points to Collierville's 209. That put Collierville into the fifth overall spot but had to actually go into a tie breaker that came down to Parker Buras's finishing higher than the Henry County's sixth man.
That Bartlett team was made up of Travis (17.11.33), then Avery Wood (17:12.00), followed closely by Brendan Hill (17:12.21), then Robert Dawson a few seconds later in 17:22.71 and Rylee Hertter in 18:02.45 to get the #5 runner spot. Travis was able to improve on last year's state time by almost 20 seconds on a day that wasn't really friendly for PR's. That's a good way to start off the Bartlett team at this state meet.
The Collierville team, made up of Garrett Jared Briant (17:09.01), Michael Linder (17:11.67), Drew Ferguson (17:40.54), and Zach Hood (17:59.15) are a seasoned group packed with seniors and were at least near or bettered their PR's on this course from previous meets. With two points separating these local teams, it certainly was a close and fun competition to watch this season! Great racing guys!!
The Christian Brothers and Memphis University School teams seem to almost always go head to head and teeter over which team is better each season. These guys are in the D2 Large school class. The CBHS purple wave has had the edge the last couple of years and this year it was a question for a while. CBHS lost to MUS at the Region meet at Shelby Farms on October 25th. Ok, the Region meet was just a "get a meet in kind of meet" since these schools already qualified for the state meet. But a meet is a meet and a win is a win. But with CBHS's coach Dwyer's wife expecting some new additions to their family, this wasn't a day to sit back and settle for anything less than your best.
So, the CBHS team took a 1-5 split of 40 seconds and a 17:45
average time for the team to get 82 points and a third place overall spot. MUS came in fourth and their split a bit
higher as well as their average team pace.
But as usual, it comes down to the athletes that are racing and the
fourth and fifth place runners. This day,
CBHS had the edge.
So... let's go through the CBHS team for a minute. All five of the guys on this team made it in the top 25 overall. A 40 second 1-5 split, which was bettered only by the runner up team of McCallie, proved to be their strength at this meet. Junior athlete Tyler Casey led the way with a 17:20.98 8th place overall finish. Then Zach Hammack, one of a couple of seniors on the team, was 14th overall in 17:42.26. Then a tight grouping between Constatine Campbell (17:46), Gabe Roberts (17:56) and Baker Springer in 18:01 brought together a really tightly packed purple wave team this season.
Memphis area finisher. Then Senior Peter Raves was the second team finisher in 17:34. That finish pretty much was a lead by example moment for this really young MUS team. With such a young group, this MUS team is going to be giving the purple wave a bit of an annoyance the next couple of years. Let's hope we see a lot of really god competitions among these guys.
Well folks, another Cross Country season in the books... see you on the Track... and the grass!