NASHVILLE -- Roderick Bowman left it all on the line at Saturday’s TSSAA state cross country championships at Percy Warner Park, and it paid off with a day to remember.
With his fifth-place finish in the Class AAA boys individual race, the Daniel Boone senior led the Trailblazers to a second-place finish in the overall team standings.
Bowman kept the strategy simple. He stormed out of the gates early and led the first lap on his way to a 16:04 finish. He finished 12 seconds behind individual champion Aaron Templeton of Hardin Valley.
“I told myself before the race that I was going to run like I know I can, not like I think I can,” Bowman said. “I was done pacing off (teammate) Adam (Barnard) and I was going to go out and run my own race.”
As a team, the ‘Blazers were looking to add the school’s rich history which includes state championships in 1981 and 1998. They came up just nine points short (52-61) to Brentwood, which had four runners in the top-11 positions.
Still, Boone nearly took it away with all five of its scorers in the top 25.
Besides Bowman, sophomore Adam Barnard also earned all-state honors in seventh, followed by Chad Whitehead (17th), James Garst (20th) and Jordan Roth (21st).
“It was in their minds,” Boone head coach Len Jeffers said about the state championship. “But, I also know they gave everything they possibly could. They ran their guts out. They ran as strong as they could and there are no regrets.
“We knew who the top challengers were and we went up against them head-to-head and gave it our best shot.”
Barnard gave thanks to above and then to his teammates for a memorable sophomore season, which ended with his 16:13 effort.
“All the glory goes to God,” Barnard said. “If he hadn’t put me with an amazing team like this, I wouldn’t have run nearly as fast. I have the best training partners in the world.”
Science Hill finished seventh in the team standings as
Ryan Becker, Noah Charles, Davon Woodmancy, Adam Montano and Bradley Tongco all scored for the Hilltoppers.
On the girls side, fate dealt a cruel blow to Science Hill senior Martha McCoy, who collapsed less than 500 yards from the finish. Showing the determination which has made her a champion all season, McCoy continued to fight, getting off the ground five times and inching closer to the finish line.
She was pulled off the course by race officials just meters from the end after a pair of well-meaning runners from Rhea County assisted her.
“I saw her at 1,000 meters (to go) and she was looking great,” Science Hill head coach Jennifer Brockett said. “She crested the hill in fifth. Right at the 300 mark, she dropped. There was no stopping. She kept getting up and going. She was going to gut it out as much as she could.”
Overall, the Lady ‘Toppers finished seventh as senior Molly Foster finished sixth to earn her fifth straight all-state honor. Understandably, her thoughts were with her teammate after the race.
“We went into this race to give it all we got our senior year,” Foster said. “She’s a fighter. She didn’t give up. She’s unbelievable, a great teammate and friend who would do anything for our team.”
Besides Foster, the Lady ‘Toppers got scores from Sarah Fickley, Katie Lance, Alicia DeVos and Hannah Dunbar.
All things considered, Brockett was pleased to have both boys’ and girls’ teams finish so high in the team standings.
“We still finished seventh which is phenomenal,” Brockett said. “To still place seventh, I was very pleased with that.”