Science Hill had five runners among the top 15 individuals to easily capture the Region 1-AAA girls’ cross country championship Thursday at Daniel Boone High School.
Martha McCoy finished second overall at 19:25, while Molly Foster was fourth. Behind the dynamic duo, eighth-place Katie Lance, 11th place Sarah Fickley and 15th place Emily Nagy gave the Lady ‘Toppers a 39-60 victory over Morristown West. It was Science Hill’s second straight regional title and its fourth in five years.
“All of our scorers were in the top 15, so that was excellent,” Science Hill head coach Jennifer Brockett said. “We’ve really been focused on packing the past week, knowing that’s what’s going to get the win at state. If we want to fight for it, we’ve got to pack together.
“We had a couple of runners push through for the team so that was good.”
While their efforts weren’t counted, Courtney Keith and Alicia Devos nearly matched West’s four and five runners to showcase Science Hill’s depth.
Up front, Emily Williams of Sullivan Central battled with McCoy for most of the race before using a strong kick to win by 10 seconds. Williams ran a 19:25 after finishing 20th at last year’s regional meet.
“Last year, I had no idea what I was doing,” Williams said. “This year, I have more of an idea although I wouldn’t call myself well informed. I could go and burn out or I could run comfortably. It’s about having the guts of making those choices and being OK if they don’t work out.”
McCoy stayed on her heels most of the way, but the weather threw a monkey wrench into her race strategy.
“It was windy and the drafting thing didn’t work out a lot,” McCoy said. “I’m glad I stayed with her that long; I just wished it would have been a little closer.”
With the regional crown sewn up, Science Hill’s head coach talked about preparing for the state meet.
“There’s a different mindset since we don’t know what a lot of those teams around the state are doing,” Brockett said. “We know Morristown West will be tough with the two girls out front who push really hard. When they’re strong, Morristown West is unpredictable, so that was good to beat them.”
Daniel Boone placed seventh in the team standings as the Lady Trailblazers’ Brittanie Hubbard and Grayson Loyd earned All-Region honors.
In the Class A-AA competiton, Greeneville won 45-71 over Grainger, and University High finished third with 81 points.
Sterlin Elliott (21:34) and Landry Loving (22:03) finished fifth and eighth among the individuals as the Lady Jr. Bucs wrapped up a berth in next week’s state championshps.
“We wanted to win or get second, but we’ll take third because third gets you to the state meet,” UH head coach Dee Perry said. “I expect we’ll do a little better next week. If Olivia Augsburger runs well, we should have a good time as a team.”
Cheyenne Upton of South Greene dominated the individual race, finishing the course in 20:42, over 38 seconds ahead of second-place Hannah Rhodes of Greeneville.
“It felt great,” Upton said. “I was booking it because I didn’t want anyone to come back and beat me. It was exciting because it was my first time being first place.”