NASHVILLE -- Greeneville won its second straight Class A/AA boys title as Region 1 schools made an exceptionally strong showing at the TSSAA state cross country championships.
Besides the Greene Devils repeating as champions, Sullivan East was sixth in the boys’ team standings and University High finished seventh.
“If you also look at the individuals we had five of the top 15 from Region 1,” Greeneville head coach Larry Blalock said. “We always say we have the toughest region in the state and we’re proving it.”
The Greene Devils skipper added that his team getting upset by Sullivan East at last week’s Region 1 championship was a key to the championship run.
“That was probably the best thing that happened to us,” Blalock said. “It was a real wake-up call. We were at the point we needed it. You hate to say it, but the kids were getting the big head as returning state champions. You need something like that ever once in a while to get your attention.”
Wesley Pectol finished third as an individual at 16:38 to lead the Greene Devils to a 93-108 win over Martin Luther King.
Zach Weaver, Matthew Bowers, Wesley King and Atlas Fagundes all scored for Greeneville in the win.
Luke Meade of Sullivan East earned All-State honors with his ninth-place finish. Simeon Roberts of Chuckey-Doak also earned All-State with an 11th place run.
University High was led by senior Gabe Perry, who finished 20th overall at 18:17. He was battling for a top-15 finish and All-State honors to the bitter end.
After the race, he spent several moments in a tight embrace with his mother, Dee, also the Junior Bucs head coach.
Tucker Rosenbaum came in next for University High with Tanner Smith, Levi Carter and Jackson Colvett adding to the Jr. Bucs’ tally.
Greeneville placed ninth in the girls’ competition, while University High was 10th.
Kira Elliott and Taylorr Rice were the top individual finishers for University High, which came on strong at the end of the season.
“It was amazing we finished as well as we did,” coach Dee Perry said. “I was down to five girls healthy enough to run at the end. I had no wiggle-room at all. We were about the same on the boys. I had someone join the team late and I moved an eighth-grader up.
“Gabe gave it a good try. I’m proud of them, really proud of them.”