Husband, wife duo lead John Sevier Middle to boys and girls AA state championships

It's not often that one school can win two state titles in the same day.  It's even more unique to  have them coached by a husband and wife team, but that was the case for Sevier Middle School at the TMSAA State Cross Country Championship in Clarksville.

"We both run and enjoy coaching together," said Shaun Potts, who is listed as the girls team head coach, while his wife Julie is  the boys..  "Both teams practice  together at the same time so we both sit down together and figure out what the workout's are going to be each week."  

Shaun and Julie also coach girls basketball and boys and girls track at John Sevier Middle.  It should be noted that Central Magnet also had a husband-wife team lead its girls team to a championship and the boys team to a runner-up finish in the Class A races.

The Warrior boys won their first title with 49 points.  Mt.  Juliet was second with 94 points and Siegel third with 108 points. 

"We told our boys team from Day 1 that our goal was to win state," said Julie Potts.  "The girls team had done it and we felt like they could do it too."

The Sevier girls won this year's meet with 58 points and Oakland was second with 97 points.

"This was actually our third title for our girls team," Potts explained.  "We won the Knoxville Youth Athletics championship the year before last."

Shaun Potts felt there was more pressure on the boys team to win than the girls.

"The boys hadn't won a state title yet, so there was more pressure on them to try and win at least once, since the girls had already won twice."

The Warrior boys took the task of winning a state crown very seriously.

"The boys decided that none of them would smile in any of the team photos until after we won state," Potts said.  "Now they are all smiles."

The boys were led by Jon Neglia, the younger brother of Sasha Neglie, who finished third with a time of 11:06..  Greenville's Colby Freeman won the race in 10:39.  Others scoring for the Warriors were Jackson Farr (10th in 11:23), Justin Knittle (14th in 11:33), Will Everett (15th in 11:36) and Dane Sullins (22nd in 11:50).

"We had some great runs today from all of our runners," Potts said.  "It was a good day, especially from the mental aspect."

Potts said the key to success was learning how to push through the pain.

"That's really a tough thing to do, especially for middle schoolers," he said.  "Most of them are new to running, so it's a tough thing for them to learn how to do."

Morgan Cordell paced the Warriors with a seventh-place finish in 12:37.  Jaden Potts, the coaches daughter, was 12th in 13:08.  She was followed by Macee Pickup (13th in 13:13), Autumn Headrick (16th in 13:16), and Sarah Smith (19th in 13:18).

"We practiced with a purpose everyday," Potts explained.  "They were hungry and humble.  It was the third year for some of these girls and there was no way they were going to lose as eighth graders."