KNOXVILLE—The Oak Ridge High School boys’ cross country team finished second in a regional championship in Knoxville on Thursday and will race in the state championship in Nashville on Saturday, Nov. 2.
The girls’ team ran well but finished fourth, meaning they won’t get to compete in the state championship. It’s only open to the top three teams in the region.
Finishing first in the 5K race for the Oak Ridge boys, and sixth overall, was junior Wesley Robinson. He had a time of 16:44.31. That was his best race all year, Robinson said.
“I was very happy with my race,” he said. The course—two loops around Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville and a downhill finish—had several difficult hills and some rocky areas, Robinson said.
“That made it tougher but more interesting,” he said.
He said Thursday’s race was also likely the best race all year for the boys’ team. Three of the Wildcats’ team members finished in the Top 10. The other two Top 10 runners were Tyler Boullie, a sophomore who finished ninth, and Ian Barclay, a senior who finished 10th. Rounding out Oak Ridge’s Top 5 were sophomore Daniel Beckett (12th) and sophomore Thomas Colburn (21st).
“That’s definitely the best race they’ve run,” Oak Ridge Wildcats coach Allen Etheridge said. “They went after it.”
The other winning boys’ teams were Hardin Valley, which came in first with 39 points, and Farragut, which finished third with 69. Oak Ridge had 58.
Fifteen teams completed the race. Winners are determined by adding the places for the top five runners for each team, and the low score wins.
The top individual runner for the boys was senior Aaron Templeton of Hardin Valley, who set a new course record of 15:16.44.
He and teammate Lachlan Dickie, also a senior, finished first and second this year, just like they did last year.
“It’s a pretty tough course, pretty hilly,” said Templeton, who will run cross country for Furman University in Greeneville, S.C. But it was a great day to run, with a good temperature, humidity, and weather, he said.
The top three girls’ teams at Thursday’s competition were Maryville with 33, Hardin Valley at 55, and Farragut with 62. Oak Ridge ended with 92 points. Thirteen teams completed that race.
The top female finisher was Emma Mashburn of Hardin Valley. She had a time of 19:21.69.
Megan Peters, a sophomore, finished first for the Oak Ridge girls and 15th overall. She had a time of 20:54.68.
Rounding out the Top 5 for the Oak Ridge girls were freshman Abbey Greenhalgh (18th), junior Aislyn Peacock (19th), freshman Maddie Zawisza (22nd), and senior Hannah Craig (23rd), who has also been state runner-up in the pole vault.
Etheridge said the girls also ran the best race they could. They just got beat by three better teams, he said.
Six of the top seven runners on both the boys’ and girls’ teams could come back next year, and five of the seven on each team are sophomores or freshmen, Etheridge said.
“It’s good times for us,” he said.
Oak Ridge will run in the state championship at 10:40 a.m. Central time on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Percy Warner Park in Nashville. Etheridge said the Wildcats could be one of the top four or five teams in the state.
Note: This story was updated at 11:53 a.m.