MURFREESBORO—The Oak Ridge boys 4×800 meter relay team finished ninth in the state track meet in Murfreesboro on Friday.
The boys 4×800 meter relay team includes senior Jake Etheridge and juniors Reid Dukes, Will Jeter, and Jose Villegas. They finished ninth in a field of 16 teams with a time of 8:14.63. Houston finished first with a time of 7:58.51. Blackman (8:03.53) and Daniel Boone (8:06.03) had the other top three finishes.
Hardin Valley Academy was sixth in the 4×800 meter relay with a time of 8:11.29, while Farragut finished 12th at 8:33.98.
The 2017 TSSAA Boys’ Track State Championships were at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro on Friday.
Etheridge also raced in the boys 1,600 meter run, where he finished 12th with a time of 4:39.27. He finished just ahead of senior Brennan Humphreys of Hardin Valley, who crossed the finish line at 4:41.91.
The top three finishers in the boys 1,600 meter run were Science Hill senior Alex Crigger (4:17.97), Cookeville senior Conner Hawkins (4:19.43), and Wilson Central senior John Elrod (4:22.56).
In the boys 100 meter dash, Oak Ridge sophomore Jordan Graham finished 15th with a time of 11.70.
The top three finishers in that race were Riverdale junior Michael Scruggs (10.97), Siegel senior Donovan Whitmore (10.97), and Memphis Central senior Rashad Haynes (10.99).
The Oak Ridge girls competed in the 4×200 meter relay, 4×800 meter relay, and 3,200 meter run on Thursday. You can see our coverage of the girls state track meet here.
Oak Ridge Coach Allen Etheridge said both the boys and girls probably ran peak performances at the Class AAA Section 1 Finals at Hardin Valley on Saturday, May 13. The top four athletes or teams in events there qualified for the state track meet in Murfreesboro this week. Although a few of the Wildcats ran their best at state, it took all of their mental and physical energy to qualify at the sectional earlier this month, Etheridge. They “laid it out” at state, but there was a finite amount of that energy, Etheridge said.
“There just wasn’t as much left in the tank,” he said of the Wildcats at the state track meet.
The boys were disappointed that they didn’t do better in the 4×800 meter relay, Etheridge said. Jake Etheridge, his son, ran his best 800 of the year in that race, but the team just wasn’t able to put together a whole relay, Allen Etheridge said.
“You can’t sugarcoat that,” he said.
Oak Ridge is one of the top distance teams in the state, and the Wildcats always want to be in the top handful of teams.
Jake Etheridge didn’t have anything left in the 1,600 meter run, and he scratched in the 3,200 meter run, although he had qualified to compete in that race, Allen Etheridge said.
“He was absolutely done after the mile,” Etheridge said.
The Wildcats have been battling some injuries. Oak Ridge freshman Muskaan Vohra, a member of the girls 4×800 meter relay team, ran well, but she had a knee issue, which is not optimal for the state track meet, Etheridge said.
Oak Ridge junior Shatyrah Copeland, a member of the girls 4×200 meter relay team, had a sore hamstring on Monday, but she felt okay to run in the state track meet after help from trainer Terra Davenport, Etheridge said.
Graham, who competed in the boys 100 meter dash, has had an issue with a hip flexor for about two months, or since about April 1. Davenport has “patched him” enough to run, Etheridge said, but he wasn’t quite himself.
But Graham still ran well, Etheridge said. He “came out of the blocks great and drove” during the race, Etheridge said, pointing out that Graham is a sophomore competing against older athletes.
Graham set a personal record of 11.10 in the 100 meter dash this season, beating his old personal best by 0.2 seconds.
“He’s taking these gradual steps and getting better in a linear fashion,” Etheridge said. “That’s what we look for.”
After this season, the Wildcats will lose Jake Etheridge, a senior, and senior Abbey Greenhalgh, a member of the girls state 4×800 meter relay team. Those are two big hits, Etheridge said.
But Oak Ridge has a “ton of great sprinters and jumpers coming back,” Etheridge said.
And the nucleus of the distance team is coming back. Assistant Coach Ed Wright did a great job with them, Etheridge said.
The Wildcats have gotten better each of the last two years, he said.
“I think next year we look pretty good,” Etheridge said.
Etheridge will remain as head track coach. He will be an assistant cross country coach after resigning as head cross country coach earlier this year. Wright, who was an assistant cross country coach, will now be the head coach of that sport.
The track and field coaching staff is stable, which is beneficial, Etheridge said.
Here are other top results for a few other nearby schools in the boys state track meet
- Boys 800 meter run—3rd—Hardin Valley junior Kenton Bachmann (1:54.99)
- Boys triple jump—4th—Hardin Valley Academy junior Willington Wright (44-02.00)
- Boys 800 meter run—6th—Farragut senior Spencer Flint (1:59.49)
Hardin Valley finished 18th in the boys team rankings, and Farragut was 41st.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
You can see the complete results from the 2017 TSSAA Boys’ Track State Championships on Friday here.
You can read about the Wildcats who qualified for the state track meet during the Class AAA Section 1 Finals at Hardin Valley on Saturday, May 13, here.
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