Trailblazers defend home course

Tanner Cook • Updated Oct 14, 2017 at 8:57 PM

For defending state champion Sasha Neglia and Dobyns-Bennett, the Trailblazer Invitational girls varsity race on Saturday morning looked like a stroll in the park.

Neglia beat her time from last season, crossing the line in 18:18, a full minute ahead of runner-up Breanna Roy of David Crockett.

“Running this course before the region meet is always good. It helps calm the nerves and let me know that I can run fast here later in the year,” said Neglia.

The Lady Indians rolled to team win with an outstanding 29 points. David Crockett finished second with 63 points and Myers Park of North Carolina took third. The Tribe averaged 19:53 for the deceivingly difficult 5K course and had all of their top scoring seven in the top 15.

On the boys’ side, Myers Park out of Charlotte, North Carolina, dominated the race, going 1-2 and scoring 35 points to take home the team title. Marshall Williamson won the race with a time of 16:25.

Daniel Boone finished second as a team with 72 points and was led by junior Matt Huff, who ran a tough race, sticking with the lead group most of the way until the closing stages.

“It was a very mentally challenging race out there today,” Huff said. “It was good to have some of my former teammates out there cheering me on. That helped out a lot.”

This was the 45th edition of the Trailblazer Invitational at Daniel Boone and it traditionally marks the end of the regular season. The same bodes true this year as championship season will begin next week with the conference meet being on Thursday, Oct. 19, at Steele Creek Park in Bristol. The regional meet will be the following Thursday, Oct. 26, at Daniel Boone.

“It feels great to defend home turf. It’s like in football when you have a home field advantage,” Huff said. “You don’t want anyone to come and put their name on the course. I’d like to win conference and regionals as a team by wide margins next week to set the tone for the postseason. We’re ranked third in the state right now and I’d like to get a ring my junior year.”

Mason Lewis was fourth for the Trailblazers while D-B’s Tyler Mays took fifth. University High’s Porter Bradley also delivered a top-10 effort (ninth) in a field of 169 runners.

There were 115 female runners. In addition to Roy, top-10 showings were turned in by D-B’s Emma Russum (third), Ellie Hall (sixth) and Ashtyn Hagood (seventh), Crockett’s Taylor Roy (fourth) and Rachel Dulaney (fifth), plus Maria Chellah (ninth) from Boone.

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