The Daniel Boone boys and Science Hill girls played a familiar tune at Saturday’s Bluegrass Cross Country Meet on the Veterans Administration grounds.
It was called, “Leader of the Pack.”
Sophomore Adam Barnard and senior Roderick Bowman finished 1-2 for the Trailblazers, while Chad Whitehead added a fourth-place finish as Boone easily outdistanced Science Hill 28-78 for the boys’ title.
“We’ve got a really strong group up there where we usually have a pack of three up front,” Daniel Boone coach Len Jeffers said. “They’re closely followed by another two or three in the 4-5 spots. It benefits the team when we can cut down the places in between us. That’s the way they train, the way they try to race.”
Likewise, the Science Hill girls had their own 1-2 finish by Martha McCoy and Molly Foster. With four runners in the top seven, and five in the top 10, the Lady ’Toppers romped past runner-up Farragut 26-74.
“I was very pleased with how they looked. They looked healthy today,” Science Hill head coach Jennifer Brockett said about her lead duo. “Then Katie (Lance), Alicia (DeVos) and Sarah (Fickley) packed together that first five, which was crucial.”
Barnard ran the five-kilometer course in 16:24 to beat Bowman by 13 seconds. Wesley Pectol of Greeneville finished third, one second ahead of Whitehead.
“The conditions were perfect,” Barnard said about his winning effort. “It was 61 degrees and I had my teammate, Rod, in second pushing me. That was a big advantage, playing off each other. I knew when it was time to go at the start of the second lap, so I decided to make my move.”
James Garst was ninth and Jordan Roth was 12th to round out Boone’s scoring efforts.
“I like where we’re at right now,” Jeffers said. “We’re where we wanted to be. We have several more meets in September before we even think about getting into October. We’re just taking it a week at a time.”
Science Hill keeps improving each week, as senior Davon Woodmancy (16:54) finished sixth, followed by fellow seniors Ryan Becker in eighth and Adam Montano in 11th. Others who scored for Science Hill were Bradley Tongco in 21st and Cameron Hopkins with a 32nd-place finish.
“The boys looked strong up front,” Brockett said. “My 4-5 guys really stepped up. Devon, Adam and Ryan have been really strong, but Cameron and Bradley have been working really hard to get up as close to those guys as possible.”
On the girls’ side, McCoy and Foster employed a winning strategy of breaking away from the pack and deciding it between themselves.
This time around, McCoy won the battle of the highly touted Science Hill seniors. McCoy, who posted a time of 19:49, explained how she and Foster have traded the 1-2 spots all year long.
“We’ve been that way in practice and we’ll probably be back and forth a good deal the rest of the season,” McCoy said. “I haven’t had the best races lately and my time isn’t the best. But the race itself was good.”
Foster finished 14 seconds behind McCoy. She was followed by Macy Carrier of Tennessee High and David Crockett freshman Carrigan Bishop, who came through with a strong fourth-place effort.
DeVos finished sixth, Lance was seventh and Fickley ended up 10th to push Science Hill to the team title.
Dobyns-Bennett finished third in both the boys’ and girls’ team competitions. University High finished sixth, best among the Region 1/A-AA schools, in the girls’ race. The Jr. Bucs were seventh in the boys’ competition, second to Greeneville among the smaller schools.
It was a day more noted for the favorites living up to expectations. Barnard said the Boone boys have taken their performance to another level this season.
“We have a huge target on our backs and we’re aware of that after finishing fifth at the state last year,” he said. “We’re coming out, still wanting to prove things. We don’t want people to think it’s gone to our heads. We just want to deliver.”