The usual suspects were again the stars of the show on Saturday at the seventh Tri-Cities Track Classic at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
In the team title races, the Science Hill boys defended home turf, winning with 181.5 points while Dobyns-Bennett was second with 146.
On the girls’ side, the script was flipped as D-B edged the Lady Hilltoppers 144.5 to 141.5.
Several of the area’s standout athletes made appearances and some new stars emerged in one of the season’s first substantial tests.
HUTCHINS BLASTS HALF MILE
Science Hill junior distance standout Jenna Hutchins showed out for the home crowd, winning the 800 meters in a personal-best and school-record time of 2:13.65.
Those personal bests are getting harder and harder to come by for the phenom, who leads the country in the 3,200 meters and is fourth in the 1,600. Hutchins is set to announce her college commitment on Monday.
“It was a great race today and I was excited to be out here,” Hutchins said. “Normally, I do the 1,600 and 800, but I’m definitely more of a distance person.
“Doing the 800, it was good to get some of that speed back.”
Hutchins jetted out per her usual style, turning the first lap in 64 seconds and she dragged the rest of the field along with her. It turned out to be fortunate for eventual runner-up Zoe Arrington.
Arrington ran 2:17.76, eclipsing the old Tennessee High school set by Rebecca Webb in 2001.
The Lady Vikings’ distance standout would come back later in the day to win the one-mile run with a time of 5:08.16, just a little over two seconds off of the school record set by Ellen McCallister way back in 1979.
COWAN BACK FOR LADY REBELS
The area’s best female field events athlete in Sullivan South’s Madison Cowan was the star of the morning session, winning the long jump (16-11) and triple jump (35-6½).
“I think it was a pretty good day and I felt good,” Cowan said. “It’s kind of hard being out here without a team. There were only three of us that came. I had my coaches and my parents to support me, so that was good.”
Cowan recently signed on with Tennessee Tech and she remarked that the coaches in Cookeville were some of the best around.
“I knew Tennessee Tech was a good option academically for me,” Cowan said. “It’s a good distance from home, but still within the state.
“The coaches are amazing and they’ve done a great job reaching out to me. I’ve met some of their athletes when I went to visit and they have a great atmosphere.”
SALYERS RALLIES VOLUNTEER
Volunteer senior sprinter Ashley Salyers had a tough day in the triple jump, scratching on all four attempts, but she made up for it on the track.
In the 4x100 relay, she received the baton on the anchor leg and her Lady Falcons were behind D-B. Salyers would not be denied victory as she hauled down the homestretch, nipping the Lady Indians at the line for the win (51.45).
“Taylor (Castle) had the best leg out of all of us because she caught us back up,” Salyers said. “I just took it away from there. If I wouldn’t have had a scratch every time in the triple jump, I would’ve had a personal best. That happens sometimes.”
In the 100 dash, she was just barely beaten by D-B’s Macee Page (13.10), who picked up her first-ever win in an individual track event.
“I was tired after that 4x100, but that’s OK because I always push to do my best,” she said.
A STAR IN THE MAKING
D-B freshman Samantha Degrace could be the next multi-talented star in the storied history of Tribe track.
She was victorious in the 100 hurdles (16.95), fourth in the 300 hurdles (52.65) and won the high jump (5-2).
“She’s really just learning what high school track and field is all about,” longtime D-B coach Bob Bingham said. “She’s got a lot of raw talent. In all three meets this year, she’s cleared 5-2 in the high jump and she’s won all the shorter hurdling races.
“She’s very quiet, but she’s very competitive.”
NOTABLE GIRLS WINNERS
D-B’s Injoi Bristol won the 200 with a time of 27.06 while Page was runner-up in 27.61.
Science Hill’s Ella Adams had a good run in the 400, crossing the line first in 1:01.61.
Trinny Duncan (Science Hill) had a massive personal best in the two mile, winning in 11:36.95 while teammate Ashley Doyle was fourth in 12:04.01.
Science Hill’s Lindsey Taylor took home gold in the 300 hurdles with a time of 49.28.
In somewhat of a surprise, Unicoi County’s Shelby Miller beat out Cherokee senior Katie Biggs in the shot put with a throw of 31-3. Biggs is a returning all-state performer in the discus from 2019.
Cherokee’s Amelia Metz had the best throw of the day in the discus with a heave of 106-9 while Biggs was runner-up again in 99-7.
Unicoi County’s Caitlin Wilson won the pole vault with a clearance of 9-6.
STREEVAL SHOWS OUT
Distance running at Daniel Boone is about as synonymous as summer and baseball.
The Trailblazers flexed their muscles in the 4x800 relay, as the quartet of Evan Bruce, Luke Mussard, Conner Wingfield and Levi Streeval blitzed the race and won in 8:13.71.
Mussard had already won the two mile earlier in the day convincingly (10:11.95) and Streeval doubled back to win the one mile in 4:26.21.
“I felt pretty good about myself and I felt like I had something left,” Streeval said. “I’m happy with where we are in the season.”
The ’Blazer junior Streeval currently sits fifth in the state at 800, having turned a 1:57.90 on Monday at Hardin Valley.
“It’s good to get this training in with the state coming up pretty soon,” he said. “I’m really proud of our 4x8 team and we’re really coming together as a group.
“We’re looking to win state in the 4x8 and we know we’re probably one of the best in the state. We’re going to try to keep improving and get better everyday.”
PENIX DOUBLES UP
Boone junior thrower Eli Penix dominated both the shot put and discus, winning both easily with throws off 49-1 and 147-9, respectively.
“There is not a single problem with his work ethic,” Boone coach Len Jeffers said. “We were on spring break this week and he went out of town with his family, so he didn’t get to throw at all. Coming off of a week with no practice, I’d say 49-1 is pretty good.
“He’s one of those kids that seeks perfection and those are the kids that you really love to see because you know they’re going to come to practice everyday wanting to get better.”
NOTABLE BOYS WINNERS
Science Hill’s Kevin Aldridge had a fast day, winning the 100 dash in 11.60. In the 200, Cherokee’s Preston McNally got off to the best start in the field and won going away with a time of 23.07.
D-B’s Bryson Gilliam took the 400, turning the one-lap race in 52.41. He was also the anchor leg for the Tribe’s winning 4x400 relay.
D-B’s Brayden Simpson double-dipped in the hurdling events, winning the 110 (17.37) and 300 (43.92) varieties.
In the field events, David Crockett’s Xavier Poore won in a jump off at 5-10 over teammate Hayden Wesley.
D-B’s Braden Marshall won the long jump, leaping 20-9 while Volunteer’s Jared Counts took gold in the triple jump (36-9).
Science Hill’s William Hagemeier won the pole vault with a huge personal best of 12-0. According to his coaches, this is Hagemeier’s first season attempting the pole vault and he had a personal best on Saturday by over a foot.