It started with individual race winner Heather Feuchtenberger and went through Julia Schubert who finished 23rd.
All five runners contributed in what could be truly described as a team effort as the Lady Cyclones repeated as regional champs, 43-45 over L&N Stem Academy. University High was a close third with 47 points.
“It was nip-and-tuck with four points from first to third,” Elizabethton coach Mark Newman said. “They wanted to win and they did it. To have our 4-5 runners step up and knock it out of the park for us, I can’t be more proud of them. All five of them, I can’t brag on them enough how they’ve logged the miles and toughed the intervals out.”
Feuchtenberger was tough out front with a 20:39, finishing some 29 seconds ahead of runner-up Laura Bretscher of L&N. She wasn’t bothered by a light rain when the race started or slick conditions on parts of the course.
“I thought the conditions were about perfect today,” Feuchtenberger said. “A little bit of rain, extra oxygen and I personally love the muddy hills. I couldn’t have asked for a better running day.”
She also couldn’t have asked for better results in her senior season. In fact, she was a little in disbelief when the race was over.
“I didn’t think this would ever happen to me,” she said. “This season, this has been a goal for me to win the conference, to win the region and go to the state. Plus our team, we’ve surpassed all our team goals and have done really well. I’m just so excited.”
There are just five runners for Elizabethton, and they’re nicknamed the “Fab Five.”
Lauren Pilkton ran a 21:38 to finish fifth. Other efforts included Maci Shell (21:57) in 10th, Randi Feuchtenberger (23:15) in 16th and Schubert (24:02) in 22nd.
Just four points off the pace, University High was led by Bekah Owen (21:14) and Ali Burns (21:26) in third and fourth, respectively. Cora Allison (21:53) was eighth, followed by Julia Gabel (23:41) in 20th and Anna Davidson (24:04) in 23rd.
Other efforts incluced Camilla Rivas in 24th and Ashley Daniel in 26th.
Unicoi County’s Megan Todd qualified as an indidivual with seventh-place run at 21:41, while Cheyenne Wilson of Unicoi County earned all-region with a 15th-place effort.
On the boys’ side, Greeneville won 45-51 over University High.
Porter Bradley finished third at 17:12 and Pablo Rivas was fourth at 17:18 to lead the Bucs.
Caleb Strickler (18:56) in 12th, Colin Daniel (19:09) in 16th and Will Owen (19:18) in 18th also scored for UH, which also had a 25th place run by Matt Montgomery.
“I couldn’t have asked for more,” UH coach Maggie Whitson said. “Pablo came from about 12th to fourth and closed a big gap to get up there with Porter. My biggest goal for the team now is to capitalize on what they did at the state last year. The boys came in 10th and the girls were ninth. I want us to advance our positions.”
Ethan Fields of Elizabethton finished ninth (18:29) to qualify for the state meet as an individual and John Campbell of Unicoi County finished 15th to make the all-region team.