NASHVILLE — Science Hill’s bid for a third girls state cross country championship came up just six points short on Saturday at Percy Warner Park.
The Lady Hilltoppers, who finished runner-up for the second straight year, lost 113-119 to Ravenwood.
“I felt really good about that,” Science Hill head coach Jennifer Brockett said. “Last year, we were state runner-up by a wide margin. This time, it was a really close race with the two teams up front.
“They ran strong and ran like they wanted it. Today was another example of how every point counts.”
Martha McCoy and Molly Foster gave the Lady ‘Toppers a strong start with finishes of fifth and sixth. The duo stayed with the lead pack for most of the race.
“I really enjoyed being up there with Molly,” McCoy said. “We pushed each other a lot. That was our goal to stay up there and to stay in that top pack.”
Foster, who has struggled in recent weeks, was battling for the lead at the end of the first lap. Although she fell back to her teammate, she remained among the top half dozen to the very end.
“I have been looking forward to it,” Foster said. “I wanted to get back to where I was. I felt pretty good so I kept pushing myself to not give up.
“I got a little carried away with the crowd on the first lap and tried to take the lead. I wanted to see if anybody would go with me. When they did, I just settled back in the pack.”
Katie Lance, Sarah Fickley and Ashley Hamati also scored points for the ‘Lady Toppers, who should return as a favorite to win it all next season.
“Ashley passed five girls coming down the final stretch,” Brockett said. “She questioned if that was enough. They all have to think like that.”
Another local runner, Katie Williams of Sullivan Central, finished 10th to join McCoy and Foster on the All-State team.
Among the Class A/AA schools, Greeneville fell one spot shy of defending its state girls’ title, finishing 86-115 behind Chattanooga Christian. Among the other Region 1 schools, Grainger placed fourth with 166 points and University High was sixth with 171 points.
Sterlin Elliott led the way for the Jr. Bucs with a 13th place finish as an individual, good enough to earn All-State. Her teammate, Landry Loving, barely missed out on the honr with an 18th-place run.
“I was proud of Sterlin,” Jr. Bucs head coach Dee Perry said. “She gutted it out in the end. She wanted that top-15 spot. I hated that Landry (Loving) didn’t get All-State, but she’s been a part of several state championship teams.
“Overall, we placed the way we ranked so I can’t be unhappy with that.”
Cheyenne Upton of South Greene led the local Class A/AA individuals (eighth) at 20:44. Macy Parham of West Greene also made All-State by placing 12th.
Science Hill’s coach commented on the number of competitive teams now at the state meet.
“Tennessee is so deep with talent right now,” Brockett said. “There are so many teams that there’s not one or two clear-cut teams. That was evident out front. It could have been anybody’s day.”