BRISTOL — The Daniel Boone boys captured their third straight Big Seven Conference title on Thursday evening at Steele Creek Park.
Not to be outdone, the Science Hill girls raced to their fourth straight crown.
With Adam Barnard and James Garst scoring a 1-2 finish, the Trailblazers rolled to a 30-53 win over runner-up Science Hill in the boys’ competition. Dobyns-Bennett finished a distant third with 78 points.
On the girls’ side, Science Hill was equally dominant with a 28-54 win over Dobyns-Bennett.
In the case of the Boone boys, Barnard led the way with a team-first attitude. He finished the race in 16:10, but it was 13 seconds off his record time from a year ago. He still wound up a good distance ahead of the rest of the field, although Barnard was focused on team goals.
“The whole strategy coming into this race was to pull my team through,” Barnard said. “It’s conference and times don’t matter. We were hoping to go 1-2-3 and we fell a little short of that. But to have James and me as the top two juniors in the conference, that’s pretty huge for us.”
Garst finished at 16:39, while the ‘Blazers also had scores from Josh Routh (fifth), Mitch Bronstetter (10th) and Jacob Cutshall (12th).
Routh, Bronstetter and Cutshall all finished under 18 minutes on a damp, slick course.
“It was a good team win,” Boone head coach Len Jeffers said. .“The main goal today wasn’t about the individual, but about the team. We wanted to win a third consecutive conference title which is really special when you consider the conference we’re in with Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett. Adam defended his title as well, but it was a good team effort with a little more strategy and a little more pack racing.”
Freshman Alex Crigger led Science Hill’s efforts with a fourth-place finish at 16:53. Bradley Tongco (17:21) added a seventh-place run and Noah Charles (17:26) came through with an eighth-place despite falling down at one point of the race. Keaton Parr (13th) and Harrison Barrett (21st) provided other Science Hill scores.
The Hilltoppers had plenty of high finishes on the girls’ side, led by individual runner-up Halle Hausman. She closed on race winner Macy Carrier of Tennessee High with about a half-mile to go before Carrier pulled away with a strong kick at the end.
“She beat me the last race by 10-20 seconds so it was my goal to win today,” said Carrrier after finishing at 19:09. “I was like, ‘I think I can do it if I kick it.’ My coaches set the goal the first of the year for me to be conference champion. I didn’t think that was possible, but it gave me motivation that they thought I could do it.”
Hausman finished 11 seconds behind, but helped accomplish the main goal of a Science Hill team title. She spent a good portion of the race running with teammate Sarah Fickley.
“Since we’ve won the the conference for a while, we want to keep it up and do it again,” Hausman explained. “Sarah and I always try to pack together, but Katie (Lance) did well too.”
Lance was fourth (20:04) and Fickley finished fifth (20:18). Eighth-place Alicia DeVos (21:05) and ninth-place Casey Miller (21:18) also scored points for Science Hill.
In addition, Lydia Lee earned All-Conference honors with her 11th-place run.
“We’ve got some youth, but they all looked really strong today,” Science Hill head coach Jennifer Brockett said. “Alicia came back strong, only the third race back for her, and Katie Lance had a great run, I think a p.r. for her. She ran great.”
Carrier’s individual crown wasn’t enough to push the Lady Vikings past Dobyns-Bennett in the team standings. Third-place Sophia Neglia (19:53) led a trio of Lady Indians in the top 10. Alexa Zimmerman was seventh and Hannah Cutshall was 10th, which helped the Tribe overcome the host Vikings 54-57.
“We’ve got some pretty good talent right there,” Dobyns-Bennett head coach Bob Bingham said. “In spite of some injuries, we still got second. If we can get our swagger back by next week, we’ll be OK.”
Bingham was referring to the Region 1 championships set for next Thursday at Daniel Boone.