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Science Hill, Elizabethton girls post top fives at state

Jeff Birchfield • Nov 7, 2015 at 7:31 PM

NASHVILLE — The Science Hill girls finished fifth in the TSSAA Class AAA state cross country meet, a feat matched hours later by the Elizabethton girls in the Class A/AA ranks.

Also on Saturday at Percy Warner Park, individual champion Luke Meade led Sullivan East to a team runner-up finish in the Class A/AA boys race.

Lydia Lee paced Science Hill by finishing fifth in Class AAA girls at 19:13. She talked about how the competition was different at the state meet than a conference meet with a faster pace and several little packs to contend with instead of one just pack.

With that, she used a different strategy to get up front.

“I just try to focus on the person in front of me and pass that person,” Lee said. “I don’t really focus on the entire pack, just the one person in front of me.”

Her teammate, Halle Hausman, used the strategy of simply trying to hang with Lee. She finished seventh at 19:15, only two seconds behind her teammate.

“I know Lydia was really pushing it, so I was like ’I have to stay with her,’ ” Hausman said. “She’s been going crazy this year. I’m excited for her, what she can do in college. We came out here and wanted to get on the podium. I’m glad that God allowed us to use his strength to do that.”

Science Hill also got scoring from Gabrielle Mardis, Julia Simpson and Taylor Canfield to count towards the team title.

Elizabethton didn’t have anyone up front like the Science Hill duo, but the Lady Cyclones’ teamwork paid off. They were led by Heather Feuchtenberger at 21:45, and they also got points from Maci Shell, Lauren Pilkton, Emily Schubert and Makayla Newman.

“Heather and Maci ran really strong, while Lauren and Emily did a great job sticking with Heather and Maci as long as they could,” Elizabethton coach Amber Abel said. “We ran a good race with the legs we had and we fought really hard.”

Among the individuals, a pair of sophomores, David Crockett’s Breanna Roy and Unicoi County’s Megan Todd, finished 15th in their respective races to earn All-State honors.

In the boys’ Class A/AA race, Meade ran a 15:39 to finish more than a minute ahead of runner-up Colin Lamb of Page.

Meade is the first individual cross country champion from East since Chuck Brown in 1976. As a team, the East boys joined the volleyball squads of 1999-2000 as the only teams in school history to finish as state runner-ups.

Behind Meade, the Patriots got points from Josh Rouse, Zach Carrier, Micah Ellison and PJ O’Dell, who injured his hip and had to walk across the finish line.

“We knew it would take everything they had,” East coach Ryan Williamson said. “PJ O’Dell has the hip go out and he walks across the finish line. PJ not giving up wound up being the thing that got us second place by one point”

Tyler Youngblood of Sullivan South and Jeb Jones of University High earned All-State honors as individuals. In team competition, University High posted top-10 finishes of ninth on the girls’ side and 10th on the boys’ side.

“It’s a big accomplishment with how young our teams are,” UH coach Adam McElroy said. “All of our freshmen are developing at a good pace and I feel our guys will be coming on strong.”Lee talked about there was much more competition at the state meet than at the conference and regional meets with a faster pace and several little packs to contend with instead of one just pack.

With that, she used a different strategy to get up front.

“I just try to focus on the person in front of me and pass that person,” Lee said. “I don’t really focus on the entire pack, just the one person in front of me.”

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