Science Hill places three in top five

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Aug 27, 2016 at 5:15 PM

BLUFF CITY — In the first major cross country meet of the season, the Science Hill girls showed they are a force to be reckoned with.

The Lady Hilltoppers took three of the top five spots at the Run for the 5K at South Holston Dam. It pushed them to a 32-48 win over Daniel Boone in the team competition. Watauga (N.C.) finished third with 82 points.

Junior Julia Simpson led the way for the Lady ’Toppers. She ran 20:32 to finish second in the individual race to Jessey Ball of Lebanon (Va.).

Simpson was 19 seconds behind the race winner, while Science Hill senior Halle Hausman finished third at 20:57 and Gabrielle Mardis finished fifth at 21:21.

“It was a great way to start the season,” first-year head coach Evan Adams said. “It was a hot day on a hard course so three in the top five is a great showing. It looks like we’re going to have a pretty strong girls’ team.”

Casey Miller (22:11) finished ninth and Taylor Canfield (23:21) was 22nd to round out the Science Hill scoring.

Boone showed its girls’ program is in the rise with the strong second-place showing. Gracie Murray finished sixth and Makayla Shaw was right behind her in seventh.

Marley McCoy added a 14th place, followed by Erin Bruce (16th) and Maria Chellah (18th).

David Crockett got a strong showing by sophomore Taylor Roy, who finished fourth individually at 21:00. Her older sister, Breanna, wasn’t able to compete after recently suffering with some compression issues.

If Saturday is any indication, it promises to be a good battle in the 1-A/AA ranks this season.

University High finished fourth in the team standings with 130 points, just three points ahead of Elizabethton with 133 points.

The Lady Cyclones had the top two individuals out of the smaller schools with Heather Feuchtenberger in eighth (21:40) and Lauren Pilkton in 10th (22:23). But, the Lady Bucs passed the Cyclones with the final two scorers.

Bekah Owen paced the Lady Bucs (22:31) for an 11th place run and Ali Burns (23:17) was next fastest in 21st.

“We’re just working towards October region,” UH coach Maggie Whitson said. “Today was a building block.”

Elizabethton coach Mark Newman believes his team has the depth to contend with UH in the long run and achieve its major goal.

“We want to get back to the state again,” Newman said. “That would be three years in a row going to the state. They have to put the hard work in. I’m tickled with what I saw today. I think we’re on target to do what we need to do.”

In addition to the TSSAA schools, Providence Academy finished seventh in the team standings with an individual best of 22:53 by Amy Ferguson.

Among the other local schools, Cheyenne Wilson (23:55) paced Unicoi County and Hunter Malone (30:52) finished best for Happy Valley.

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