Sure, Barnard had the great individual moments in the Section 1-AAA track meet at Kermit Tipton Stadium. They including running a personal best 4:11 to win the 1,600 meter race and finishing second to Hardin Valley’s Aaron Templeton in the 3,200.
However, his proudest moment was finishing third in the 800, when he helped Daniel Boone teammate Ashton Wilson qualify for state. The two practically crossed the finish line at the same time with Barnard’s time at 1:56.3 and Wilson’s at 1:56.7.
Those kind of efforts have given the Trailblazers a 69-66 lead over Hardin Valley with one event to go. Due to wet conditions, the pole vault competition was postponed until Tuesday morning at Morristown West. Regardless of the final outcome, the ’Blazers proved a point they wanted to make.
“A lot of people don’t understand that track is not just an individual sport,” Barnard said. “We showed that last year in our state championship 4x800 team. We just like to keep an emphasis on the team aspect of the sport. We’re all in this together. Ashton and I train together every day. I credit him with a lot of my success, so it was good to help him qualify for state.”
Wilson earned state berths both as an individual and as the anchor on the boys’ 4x800 relay team, which finished at 8:05.29. Besides Wilson, the team included Josh Routh, Mitch Bronstetter and James Garst.
Wilson agrees with Barnard’s assessment of track being a team sport, even moreso than the sport he used to play.
“I used to play football and they say it is a team sport,” Wilson said. “But, I see track and cross country as more of a team. We go out and eat together in the morning, we train together. We all like each other and respect each other as runners. It’s a good brotherhood and a great team to be a part of.”
They weren’t the only Trailblazers to qualify for the state meet.
Christian Stumpf was runner-up in the boys’ high jump with a 6-foot-4 effort, while his Daniel Boone teammate Jared Phillips finished fourth with a 6-foot-2 jump. Steven Carr also qualified with a fourth-place finish in the boys’ 400.
For host Science Hill, it was an eventful day and night.
The boys 4x800 team of Bradley Tongco, Noah Charles, Alex Crigger and Jonathan Spitznas ran as high as second-place much of their race and before finishing 8:11.38 to place fourth and qualify for the state meet.
“They were ranked fifth going in so we knew they had to run a good, hard race to make it,” Science Hill coach Jennifer Brockett said. “We thought we were locked in with the girls and the boys would have to work. But, they ran the fastest time they’ve run all season.”
The girls 4x800 team barely missed qualifying in heartbreaking fashion.
Anchor Halle Hausman was in fourth-place and had comfortable lead on fifth when she fell just 10 meters from the finish. She got back up in a valiant effort, but the Lady ’Toppers team of Sarah Fickley, Katie Lance, Alicia DeVos and herself wound up fifth, after being passed by Dobyns-Bennett.
Overall, the Hilltoppers qualified in a variety of events.
The Science Hill qualifiers included Cleo Mellish, who ranked third (12:59 seconds) in the girls’ 100 and Fickley, who was third (5:17) in the 1,600. There were also a pair of fourth-place finishers: Elijah Mathes, who posted a 21-09.25 in the boys’ long jump, and Annika Burley, who landed 33-00.25 in the girls’ triple jump.
There were also some near misses.
Stacey Reed missed out by a foot in the girls’ long jump, while Trey Sutton was sixth in the boys’ 110 hurdles, one spot ahead of Daniel Boone’s David Merriken.
The Boone boys’ 4x200 team of Christian Stumpf, Carr, Bryan Langan and Wilson missed qualifying by just one position, as did the Science Hill 4x100 team of Sutton, Mathes, Abe Ziha and Timothy Dulaney. Another Hilltopper, Khiry Halim, placed fifth in the boys’ triple jump at 43-04.
David Crockett had five athletes compete on Saturday with Adrianna Stephens setting a personal record in the shot put.
Daniela Palomino threw the discus while the rain was coming down, while other efforts by the Pioneers included Tucker Ayers and Luke Stelter in the boys’ 1,600, and Taylor Bryant in the long jump.
“It was a good season,” Crockett coach Candace Bolus said. “Five people made the sectional which is more than last year. I’m proud of them, really proud of the girls in the shot and discus. I think we ended on a good note.”
For several Boone and Science Hill athletes, their seasons won’t end until a couple of weeks later at the TSSAA State Championships in Murfreesboro.
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