Boone regains Big 7 title; pair of second places for SH

Jeff Birchfield • Oct 20, 2016 at 7:07 PM

BRISTOL — Daniel Boone regained the Big 7 Conference cross country championship Thursday on a record-setting day at Steele Creek Park.

Senior Ben Varghese ran a 15:37 over the five kilometers to break both the course and meet records. In doing so, he led the Trailblazers to a 22-55 victory over runner-up Science Hill.

Varghese’s run was eight seconds faster than the time posted by then teammate Josh Routh one year ago. It was a team victory worth celebrating for Boone, which had lost to the Hilltoppers by six points in the team standings a year ago.

“It’s really nice to come back here and reclaim our conference title after it was taken away last year,” Varghese said. “It provided motivation for our team this year. All the seniors did what we were capable of and ran to the best of our abilities. I’m proud of my course record, but I’m more proud of the team title.”

Boone placed five runners in the top seven which counted for the points total, and had seven among the top 12. Zac Branham was third at 17:04, followed by Chance Bowman in fifth at 17:10, Matt Huff in sixth at 17:23 and Daniel Johnson in seventh at 17:38.

Caleb Sells in ninth and Mason Lewis in 12th had the other high finishes for the ’Blazers.

“It’s always a huge deal to be conference champions, especially in this league with the likes of Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett,” Boone coach Len Jeffers said. “After getting second a year ago, it was nice to get back and reclaim the conference title. It was a great race where everybody showed up focused and ran the way we knew they could.”

Science Hill’s Alex Crigger finished runner-up in the individual race at 16:07 to lead the Hilltoppers to the second-place team result. Also for Science Hill, Thomas Seeley ran 17:53 to finish eighth, followed by Gavin Ledford (18:10) in 10th, Aaron Jones (18:19) in 15th and Justin Canfield (18:40) in 20th. Dylan Pogue added a 25th-place run which didn’t count towards the team score.

Dobyns-Bennett was third with 60 points, while David Crockett had three runners in the top 25. Andrew Keys was 16th to lead the Pioneers, followed by Hank Lowe in 23rd and Cameron Butler in 24th. Ajani Lee (26th) and Will Stevens (31st) also scored for Crockett.

“Andrew Keys is our senior who leads us, and you look at the rest of those guys and they’re all sophomores,” Crockett coach Mark Jennings said. “Hopefully, they’ll be a good group for us the next couple of years.”

The Dobyns-Bennett girls matched the Boone boys’ points total with five runners in the top seven to win 22-60 over Science Hill.

D-B freshman Sasha Neglia ran a 18:20 to easily beat the meet record of 18:43 set by Science Hill’s Molly Foster in 2013.

Halle Hausman of Science Hill went 19:25 to finish second. It was Hausman’s fourth runner-up finish at the meet.

“We like winning, but D-B is killing it this year,” Hausman said. “We’re very proud of what we’ve done as a team and I’m super proud of how the team has come together this year.”

The Lady ’Toppers, who had one of its top runners, Julia Simpson, sidelined by injury, also got points from Gabrielle Mardis (ninth), Casey Miller (12th), Destiny Haller (18th) and Taylor Canfield (19th). Abbi Rountree (20th) and Elizabeth Treece (26th) rounded out efforts for the Lady ’Toppers.

“Today was a trial run for the region next week,” Science Hill coach Evan Adams said. “But we’ve been working hard. The boys finishing second this season is a great accomplishment. The girls, we’re hoping that Julia will be back to help us at the region so we can give it a good shot at D-B next week.”

Boone was third in the team standings with 79 points.

Gracie Murray finished 10th to lead the Lady ’Blazers, who got points from Marley McCoy (14th), Judy Chellah (16th) , Maria Chellah (17th) and Erin Bruce (21st). Boone’s Alanna Cloud was right behind Bruce in 22nd.

Crockett had a strong showing from the Roy sisters as Taylor finished fourth and Breanna crossed the finish line eighth. Chloe Cradic also finished in the top 25 for the Lady Pioneers.

The teams now turn their attention to the Region 1 championships scheduled for next Thursday at Daniel Boone High School.

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