Patton leads 'Toppers to big day at sectional

Jeff Birchfield • May 12, 2018 at 10:23 PM

TJ Patton was racing for more than the win when he entered Saturday's Large School Section 1 track meet as the top seed in the boys' 110-meter hurdles.

He wanted to make a statement to the other runners locally and to the rest of the state at the meet held at Sidney Smallwood Track. Patton ran a time of 14.38 to win by nearly a second over runner-up TJ Shaw of South-Doyle. 

"I was just focused all week," he said. "I was already (seeded) No. 1, but I knew people from the Murfreesboro area and the other side of the state would be running and looking at that. I knew what I had to do, run the best I could and make a statement."

With Patton leading the way including a second-place run in the 200-meter dash, the Hilltoppers finished third in the boys' team standings. Hardin Valley was first with 90 points, followed by Dobyns-Bennett with 69.5 points and Science Hill with 64.5 points.

Jeb Jones also scored in a pair of events, second in the boys' 1,600 and third in the 800. Aaron Jones added a third place in the 3,200. William Peterson cleared 13 feet, six inches to finish third in the pole vault.

On the girls' side, the 4x400 relay team finished third and the 4x800 team was fourth.

Mary Reed earned a second-place in the long jump at 17-4, while Erin Fuller cleared 5-2 to finish third in the high jump.

"I couldn't ask for a better group of kids," Science Hill coach Anthony Jones said. "TJ has continued to blossom. He's well aware that he can do well in the state. We had a few misses today, but I'm excited moving forward."

Daniel Boone missed on the boys' side which included Noah Shelton coming up short on an attempt to make the state for a third time in the high jump. Boone will be represented on the girls side by Catie Cutshall in the pole vault, Maria Chellah in the 800 and the 4x800 relay team.

"In a section like this with the quantity and quality of teams, it's a tough day," Jeffers said. "You have to be ready to put your best foot forward. Just go out there and do the best you can. Overall, we had a good team to be a young team across the board. Our girl Catie got in with the pole vault, Maria in the 800, and the girls' 4x800 relay team. But, it looks good for the future with most of our numbers in the nine and 10 grades."

David Crockett had a couple of near misses to make the state. Karina Palomino finished fifth in the triple jump as did Breanna Roy in a heartbreaking finish to the 1,600. She collapsed just feet from the finish line and actually reached over the line with her hand and her head in fourth place, but the TSSAA rules say the chest must across cross the line, giving the state berth to Maddy Moody of Anderson County.

It was the kind of gutsy performance which Roy, a four-time All-State runner between track and cross country, has been known for.

"I had to crawl the last five feet," Roy said. "I tried to give all I had to make it to state, but my legs went tired."

Elizabethton had throwers qualify in field events. Camryn Koroma went 122 feet and nine inches in the discus throw and Jasmine Roberts had a heave of 36-01.50 in the shot put.

Dobyns-Bennett had four individual wins — Tanner Henry in the pole vault, Jeamy Williams in the boys’ 100 and Sasha Neglia in the girls’ 1,600 and 3,200 races.

The boys and girls state track meet will be held at Middle Tennessee State University.

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