2021 TSSAA State Cross Country Recap: Memphis Area Boys

Memphis Area Boys

At one time, I was hearing discussion on how far the Sanders Ferry site is for those from the Memphis area. I didn't hear that this year. No doubt, it's a trip for sure, I drove there Thursday morning and it took longer than if I was going to the Steeplechase course. The parking is a little funky and some people didn't quite understand that roped areas and packed grass and cones might mean it's a Cross Country course and not a parking lot! But overall, everyone's getting more used to the course and the times are showing it now.

Landen McNair of Bartlett was the clear top finisher among the Memphis area guys, that really didn't come as a surprise to most. Hays Adams of Houston ended up in the runner up spot for Memphis area finishers and for some, that wasn't a surprise either. Christian Brother's Kaleb Smith found himself getting the Silver spot for the third fastest from Memphis at State. That sort of came as a little surprise, but only slightly.  You would think the big school division would have the most top ten finishers among the Memphis area athletes, and that would be correct. However, the D1 small and D2AA class stepped up their game this year as well to post a few in the top ten bunch.

Here's the list of Memphis area top 10 finishers for the boys:

1Landen McNairBartlett15:19
2Hays AdamsHouston15:35
3Kaleb SmithCBHS16:00
4Chance KirbyBartlett16:07
5Ryan ColeyMunford16:14
6Brent LyonsArlington16:18
7Eliot GarstBartlett16:26
8Luke CarpenterHouston16:28
Christian PattersonBartlett16:30
10Jarryn LoweWhite Station16:34



The State cross country championships seems to be getting more competitive every year. Team averages for each of the divisions was extremely impressive. The large school division had team averages of 16:06, 16:15 and 16:19 for the top three in that class.  The D2AA class averaged out with 16:16, 16:23 and 16:37 for the top three overall teams.  That's the average for the top 5 guys on the team!


The Bartlett team averaged 16:20, Houston 16:28 and Christian Brothers was third among all the Memphis state competitors with a team average of 16:47 for the 5K distance! Dang! Several years ago (and I do mean several), my best 5K time was 16:48... the whole Purple Wave team averaged a second better than my lifetime best! It takes some very unique athletes to compete in cross country - it's demanding... it's non-stop running...  And when you break this sport down, it becomes one of the simplest, one of the purest, and one of the most grueling of all real sports. You run against the competition when you race and against yourself when you train. It's definitely not for everyone.


There were 208 finishers in the boys AAA division last Thursday. That's a big crowd. There was a lot of talk about whether Houston would be faster than the Bartlett team since they'd been battling it out all season. Turned out Bartlett got the nod. Although only 8 seconds separated the Bartlett and Houston team averages. And coincidentally, 8 points separated the two teams in the end as well. The chart below shows the placing of the top 5 scorers. Houston had the tighter split among the group of five, but Bartlett's top two guys may have been what turned the heat on for the team on Thursday.















There is a lot to be said about experience when it comes to cross country racing. Bartlett proved it this year among the Memphis area racers. Having three seniors finishing in the top three for the team certainly gave them the edge this year. Houston however, only had one senior in their scoring group. What may be interesting for the future, their push group - the sixth and seventh runners - are juniors that finished about a second apart at this meet. This kind of competition is great for the sport and I don't see an end to it for quite some time!

Bartlett's team was Landen McNair, Chance Kirby, Elliot Garst, Christian Patterson, and Dante Torres (17:17.73).


 Houston's team included Hays Adams, Luke Carpenter, Samuel Tankersley (16:36), Robert Randall (16:41) and Thomas Dickinson (16:58).  A lot of these guys improved on their times from last year on this course. The more races on this course, the better chance that we might just see a spike in the times next year if the state meet continues at Sanders Ferry Park.


CBHS was the first Memphis team to cross the finish in the D2AA division, and that too was not a surprise to anyone. They came in 4th overall, had 119 points, and ended up with a 16:47 average time for the team. I'd like to point out that the CBHS team was 4th  in the division with that 16:47 average time! It's not getting any easier to excel in this sport, but the CBHS boys seem to always be doing it!

 The Brothers scoring team was Kaleb Smith (16:00), Jake Ryan (16:40), Brett Barron (16:55), Joe Edwards (17:08) and Parker Russ (17:10). Three of these guys set new personal records at the State meet, something that is difficult to do - and that is an understatement in all respects! Kaleb Smith set a new PR by a whopping 29 seconds! Joe Edwards overtook his best by just over 3 seconds and Brett Barron by almost nine seconds! That is the definition of Start Strong - Finish Stronger!!


It's my understanding that these guys came into the meet with the idea of giving it their all. They knew they had a chance of at least a top five or sixth spot but also knew a win could be eked out with their best and a bit of luck. They also knew they had to give it their all - and judging by the expressions on their faces as the kilometers passed by, there was no doubt each of those Brothers gave it their all. The pain was obvious. So was the joy they had after knowing they left nothing on the course. That is a PR season if I ever saw one! Nice running guys!

D2AA Race Video - Boys

D1 AAA Race Video - Boys

 See you on the track and the grass!

Coach Ted