Note: This story was last updated at 8:34 p.m.
NASHVILLE—The Oak Ridge High School boys team finished second in Tennessee during the 2015 state cross country meet in Nashville on Saturday. Brentwood finished first.
Senior Gashaw Duhamel was the top runner for Oak Ridge, the runner-up in the Division I Class AAA boys race. It was a 5,000-meter, or 5k, race. Duhamel finished 10th, with a time of 16:20.01 on the muddy course on a chilly, overcast Saturday morning.
Brentwood had two of the top three runners: sophomore Brodey Hasty, who was first with a time of 15:35.09, and junior Taylor Vroon, who finished third with a time of 15:50.85.
Oak Ridge senior Tyler Boullie was 16th, crossing the finish line at Percy Warner Park Steeplechase Course at 16:36.85.
Also in the top five for the Wildcats, meaning their scores were included in the team total, were senior Thomas Colburn, who finished 20th at 16:40.94; junior Jacob “Jake” Etheridge, who was 22nd with a time of 16:43.07; and sophomore Jose Villegas, who finished 27th at 16:45.09.
The Oak Ridge boys finished third last year and sixth the year before. They last finished second in 2009 and last finished first in 2007.
The Wildcats had a shot at winning the championship this year, Oak Ridge Coach Allen Etheridge said. The boys were leading at the one-mile mark on Saturday, he said.
But, “Brentwood ran a great second half,” Etheridge said.
Brentwood Coach Billy Anderson agreed with Etheridge’s assessment of the first part of the race. The Wildcats were perfect out of the gate and leading at the one-mile mark, Anderson said.
“The last 1k (kilometer) kind of made the difference,” Anderson said.
He said the Brentwood pack extended out at the end of the race, and the great run by Oak Ridge pushed the Bruins.
Etheridge said Duhamel didn’t have his best race but still finished in the top 15, making him an All-State runner.
In 16th place, Boullie just missed being named All-State, but he had a great finish, Etheridge said.
He said the Wildcats, the Region 2 champion again this year, had a fine second half, but let a few places slip. The low point total scored by the top two Brentwood runners, with their first- and third-place finishes, was hard to overcome, Etheridge said.
In a cross country meet, a lower point total is better. Brentwood had 63 points on Saturday, Oak Ridge had 87, and Daniel Boone, the third-place team, finished with 110.
Three other East Tennessee teams had the next three spots: Science Hill (fourth with 121 points), Hardin Valley Academy (fifth with 227), and Maryville (sixth with 231).
Asked about the other Oak Ridge runners, Etheridge said Colburn “laid it out” in the race, but appeared “gassed” at the end, and Jake Etheridge had a strong run. Villegas, who has had to overcome some health issues, had his strongest race of the year, especially in the second half, Etheridge said.
The other two runners on the seven-member Oak Ridge team were seniors Daniel Beckett and Richard Martin. Beckett finished 31st with a time of 16:49.74, and Martin finished 102nd with a time of 18:00.03.
Next year will be a rebuilding year for Oak Ridge, Etheridge said. Five seniors ran Saturday, and only two of the top five runners are returning next year: Jake Etheridge and Villegas.
Hardin Valley Coach Bryan Brown said his boys team, which didn’t include any seniors, didn’t expect to finish in the top spot. Saturday’s race was like a dress rehearsal for the young Hardin Valley team, which included three juniors, two sophomores, and two freshman, Brown said. The Hawks finished third in Region 2 this year.
In the state girls race on Saturday, Hardin Valley finished third. They had hoped to bring home a trophy, but those are only awarded to the first- and second-place teams (the champion and the runner-up).
The third-place finish for the Hardin Valley girls ties the highest finish ever for that school’s girls cross country program.
Lady Hawks sophomore Madison Grimm placed 13th in the girls race, making her an All-State runner.
Houston, which had been the overwhelming favorite, won the girls race with 86 points. Brentwood was runner-up with 97 points, part of a “really good day” for the Bruins, Brown said.
The Lady Hawks, who were the Region 2 champion this year, ran two seniors and five sophomores and finished with 131 points. The Hardin Valley girls have a good nucleus for next year, Brown said.
Etheridge said Oak Ridge has won three state boys titles and two runner-ups while he’s been coach. The cross country program has a total of 14 state titles and a dozen runner-ups.
The top three Class AAA boys teams shuffled their spots in the top three this year, compared to last year. The Brentwood boys were second last year, and first this year; Oak Ridge was third last year, and second this year; and Daniel Boone was first last year, and third this year. Brentwood has had a really good five-year run, Etheridge said.
Etheridge said most members of the Oak Ridge girls team are returning. The only two seniors are Megan Peters and Elisabeth Martin.
The young, competitive team did not advance to state this year, but they had a bad day at the Region 2 meet in October, Etheridge said.
Besides Oak Ridge, Hardin Valley, and Maryville, another Region 2 team racing Saturday was Farragut. The Farragut girls, the Region 2 runner-up, finished ninth and Maryville finished 10th.
Two other East Tennessee girls teams finished in the top five in the Division I Class AAA race: Morristown West was fourth, and Science Hill was fifth.
The top female runner was senior Megan Murray of Knoxville West, with a time of 18:49.11. Senior Hailey Hendry of Brentwood was second at 18:58.50, and junior Michelle Myers of Houston was third, with a time of 19:07.92
Senior Brittany Tolson of Powell was 11th at 19:23.70. In 13th place, Grimm’s time was 19:31.30.
See the results here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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