Top Memphis Girls Cross Country Athletes to Watch
Last year it seemed like the pandemic had some effect on the performance level seen across the board in cross country. Could have been the lack of a track season, could have been just the effect the pandemic had on training. This season however, things look well back to normal. So, let's dig into the top Memphis area athletes.
The top female athlete out of the Memphis area comes from the suburb of Arlington. A few years ago, Ann-Marie Braese emerged among the flood of athletes in the area. As a first-year middle school athlete, she was posting some impressive top 10 and even top 5 finishes in the local two-mile races. Then in 2017, she posted a 7:18 in the 2K at the Memphis Twilight race to get a 4th place finish there. That season, as an eighth grader, she kept improving during the MYA 2-mile races. Those were also against some stout Houston and Collierville middle school teams!
When she gets into the high school ranks, her first season she was able to wedge herself among a couple of strong teammates (Skylar Boogerd, Olivia Barnes) to get a second-place spot at the Region 8AAA championship. As a Freshman, the State meet appeared to put a bit more of a challenge than expected, posting a 19th place finish at the famed Steeplechase course. The next year though, getting top ten at the State meet was in the mix and her first time breaking under 19. No doubt, as a sophomore, this athlete proved to be the legitimate deal.
And now, entering her senior season, she's already impressed at the Memphis Twilight getting an 18:43 and runner up spot and winning the highly competitive Frank Horton "Night" Invitational. Her 18:18.00 time at the Frank Horton certainly was impressive. Anyone checking out this new course, it really is a championship level venue. The middle kilometers of this race pose a big challenge, but Ann-Marie took to the lead right away and powered through those early kilometers looking very little winded and very much the champion she is proving to be! She did it again at the Region 8 AAA meet where she ran a 5:51 pace and ran 18:11 (which by the way, was the time of her 4th place finish at state last year). Looks like she is on the way for an impressive State meet for sure!
Zoe Marsh of Houston High is the closest threat to Ann-Marie with her best this year of 18:39.50. Zoe went head to head with Ann-Marie at the Frank Horton Night invitational in late September and trailed her by a close 21 seconds. Zoe notched a runner up at the Region 8 AAA meet on a very cloudy and humid afternoon. And leading neighboring Collierville's team has been Scarlett Nash who happened to be the 3rd fastest Memphis area runner at that Night race with her 19:14 time. She also posted third at the Region 8 meet.
The Houston girls happened to be the first team at the Frank Horton with Collierville just a couple of points behind them. That same result happened at the Region 8 meet as well. That would indicate how close these teams are. Of course, if you've watched CC in the Memphis area, Houston is pretty noted for slowly building up for the main races... Regions and State. I was looking at my Wynn app and I don't see CC in the mix, but if I did, most likely I'd be putting Houston as the top Memphis team heading out to State. But Collierville will be nipping at their heels and looking for any little misstep to overtake them.
The top girls on the Houston team include Zoe, Gracey Owens (19:36), Anissa Pokorny-Yadav (19:42, set at the Region meet), Emma Thweatt (20:02), Ava Stockdale (20:16, although didn't see her run at the Region meet), Lindsey Barnes (20:29) and Anna Tamura (21:36). How many are seniors - one! Top girls on the Collierville team are Scarlett, Emma Hurlbut (19:33), Ava Lang (19:47), Sydney Collins (19:51), Allie Timms (20:11), May Mccloskey (20:25), Isabella Carothers (20:45), Maggie Webber (20:48). How many of these are seniors - one! Now isn't that an interesting statistic.