2021 TSSAA State Cross Country Recap: Memphis Area Girls

Top Memphis Area Girls

Most of the time, you don't see a new PR during the state meet. Heck, a lot of the time you're just trying to keep healthy and out of the injury pool. The State course tends to be a bit on the tougher side, especially when the weather doesn't cooperate that much. There were some questions leading up to the Thursday and Friday races with so much rain hitting the course a few days before. But the weather was a friend this year. Sunny, little to no wind, cool temps and a dry course added to the mix.  

It's always interesting to see how the Memphis area athletes perform at the State Cross Country Championships. With the level of talent across this state, their work was cut out for them indeed.

So, who drove home with the fastest time out of all the Memphis athletes tackling that Sanders Ferry course? And who had the best performance between the boys and the girls? Here's a look at the top ten girl performances at the state meet this week.

Clearly the Arlington stand-out Ann-Marie Braese topped the list and gets a shiny gold star for her runner up performance in the D2AAA division (18:06.70). It seems this athlete cannot find a way to slow down! Surprisingly enough, Ann-Marie did not set a new PR this season. But that is probably deceiving in a way, it was her best race of the season. Cross Country courses are notoriously different from each other. Her time at State, however, was a slight 0.7 off a second off her second fastest from last season and about 5 seconds faster than last year on this course. It's also about 37 seconds faster than her first race at the start of the season.

Ann-Marie finished second by less than a second and a half against a Siegel senior that hasn't lost a race this season. Ann-Marie sat in the second spot throughout most of the race with about a 15-to-20-meter gap at times. But that gap started to close once she passed the two-mile mark. When you're consistently at the top, able to race from early September to November without getting sidelined for injuries, sure sounds like a PR season to me! Listen to Ann-Marie's interview to get her perspective on how she raced at this meet.

Another senior, St. George's Lauren Rutlin, ran an 18:58.58 that also get her a runner up spot, this time in the D2A division. By the way, that was Lauren's fastest time of the season. A little bit of jostling for position in the early half of the race, Lauren took charge just before the 4K point and earned that D2A runner up spot.

Lauren also had to go up against the fastest girl in the state, so that was an impressive performance. That run makes her the second best out of the State meet this season.

Getting the bronze spot for Memphis area girls performances goes to Zoe Marsh of Houston. Zoe's time was 19:18.10. As the runner up in the Region 8 Memphis meet, she came into this meet with on a strong note.

Maggie Roy of Bartlett posted a 19:25.00 to get in the top 25 at the state meet. Not surprising since Maggie was 4th at the Region 8 meet in Memphis where she set herself a new PR. No doubt she carried that confidence into this very competitive state meet!

Finishing out the top 5 best performers from Memphis ended up being a freshman athlete. Scarlet Nash of Collierville finished in the 30th spot in a time of 19:36.40. Looking at the list of top 30 finishers, there are about a third that are seniors, seven freshman and the remainder either 10th or 11th. That tells me the talent in this state among the girls is tremendous and will be impressive for the next few years. Also, with the top 4 in the AAA girls being seniors, it will make for some shuffling at the top next year for sure.

Making up the second half of the top ten Memphis area finishers at the State meet are Emma Hurlbut of Collierville (19:47.50), Aubrey Park of Briacrest (D2AA, 19:56), Emmye Conway also of Briarcrest (D2AA, 20:03.00), Houston's Gracey Owens (D1AAA, 20:04.50), and Hutchison's Meriel Rowland in 20:08.40 (D2AA).


In the team competitions for each division, Collierville was the top Memphis team in the D1AAA division. Collierville averaged 20:06 for the team and finished in 6th place overall this year. That team was Scarlett Nash, Emma Hurlbut, Ava Lang (20:11.40, a freshman), Sydney Collins, 20:25.50) and Maya McCloskey (20:31.60). This is a very young team and likely to continue making their mark in cross country.

Munford was Memphis areas best in the D1A class with a 6th place overall. Hannah Callahan (20:20.70), Emily Bey (21:15.10), Kaelyn Coker (21:49), Ionna Dunlap (22:51), and Cara Bruce (23:24) made up this team. This also is a very young team with 3 freshman, one sophomore and one senior!

Not only was St. George's the top Memphis finisher at the state meet for the D2A division, but they also won the division outright as well! Lauren Rutlin, Megan Yost (20:31.73), Mary Frances Forbes (20:48.65), Sienna Lightman (21:01.72) and Emma Clayton (21:51.02) made up this scoring team. Having all your top 5 runners all at 17th overall or better is certainly a good way to take the top podium spot in this race. Having a lead of 37 points helps the cause as well! Great going St. George's!


In the D2AA division, Briarcrest was able to take the top Memphis spot this year with a 21:49 team average and 8th position overall. Leading this team with a 13-14 finish were Aubrey Park and Emmye Conway.  Helping that team move up the ranks was 8th grader Elizabeth Gainer (21:15), Brooke Story (23:51) and Kathryn Echols (24:00).


See you on the track... and the grass!

Coach Ted