Division II Class A Boys
Johnson Lives Up To Expectations
After the graduation of Connor Henson and Trace Alexander, Drew Johnson and Austin Cason returned as the only runners who had run under the seventeen minute mark from the previous state meet with Johnson in 16:11 and Cason with a 16:27. As the season unfolded, the list of contenders grew with Sammy Mohamed, Connor Carter, Chase Cavitch, and Joshua Cross all running better year over year. The six maintained close contact with each other through the first mile but as the race continued into the second loop the pack dwindled until Johnson essentially ran the final mile with a twenty to thirty meter lead until the finish where he would separate himself from second place by 11 seconds crossing the finish line in 16:19.
Johnson will be an interesting watch follow during track season as he was unable to partake in the spring racing as a junior due to injury. Mohamed, the runner up finisher, will also be one to watch. Earlier this year, we profiled the senior as the most improved runner of the Class of 2023 since his freshman year. If you were to solely look at improvement at the state from 2021, he ranked 37th overall in that category with a 57 second improvement at Sanders Ferry Park.
USN Retains Championship
At the midpoint of the season, the projections had Donelson Christian Academy as the favorite on paper but it was setting up to be a Middle Region slug fest as the top four team, University School of Nashville, Columbia Academy, and Battle Ground Academy were all slated to compete for just three qualifying spot. After the dust settled at the regional championship, USN edged DCA for the title 41-49 while BGA was able to grab the last team qualifying spot over CA 72 - 89. A week later at state, USN, DCA, and BGA would maintain that finishing order but it wouldn't be as close. USN lowered it's team average from 17:58 to 17:45 while DCA and BGA would post worse team averages which opened up opportunity for CAK to spoil the middle region sweep as they slipped into second. The team would be led by Austin Cason who finished 3rd overall with a supporting cast of young runners Ryder Ortner and Jack Fruin who both made All-State finishing 6th and 12th overall as a 9th and 8th grader respectively. Cason and Coach Flatau reflect on the championship.
As you can see if you watched the interview, USN has quite the team chemistry. Each of the top four team graduate 2 or more scoring seniors heading into next season so this will be an interesting team race to monitor next season.
Congratulations to USN and Drew Johnson.