The Oak Ridge boys’ and girls’ cross country teams finished first in the Cherokee Invitational in Knoxville on Saturday. Senior Jake Etheridge was the top overall runner in the boys’ 5k, or 5,000-meter race. Junior Genevieve Schwartz finished second overall in the girls’ race, and senior Abbey Greenhalgh was third.
The Oak Ridge boys had seven of the top 14 runners, and the girls had six of the top 13.
The first-place finish for the boys on Saturday came one week after they finished first in the Wendy’s Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Etheridge was also the top overall runner.
Oak Ridge Coach Allen Etheridge said Saturday’s race on Cherokee Boulevard in Knoxville is a hard race that was run during Fall Break, when the team is out of the normal school rhythm. The team has to run to “get its work in,” but is never “super satisfied,” Etheridge said.
“It’s always kind of a tough race for us,” Etheridge said. “We ran okay.”
Jake Etheridge ran the course in 16 minutes.
“He ran pretty good,” Coach Etheridge said.
Oak Ridge beat a good Maryville team, but it was kind of a “ho-hum race” with the boys “fairly flat,” Etheridge said.
“We placed well, but there were a lot of time gaps there (between runners),” he said. “They did enough to win, and that was all that was required.”
Schwartz, who finished second overall in the girls’ race at 20:06, started at a pace slower than she wanted, Etheridge said. Still, she ran okay, and a second-place finish isn’t bad, Etheridge said.
Greenhalgh finished six seconds behind Schwartz at 20:12. They knew Greenhalgh would run well but didn’t expect her to run that well, Etheridge said.
“That was a terrific result,” he said. “That filled in a big gap for us.”
Greenhalgh had missed the last two meets because of ACT and SAT testing.
The Wildcats next run at the Region 2 meet on Thursday, October 27, at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville. The girls’ race starts at 9 a.m., and the boys’ race begins at 9:40 a.m.
Here are the top results of Saturday’s meet at the Cherokee Invitational:
- 1st: Jacob Etheridge—16:00
- 5th: Dalton Morgan—16:53
- 6th: Will Jeter—16:55
- 9th: Reid Dukes—17:08
- 11th: Christian Borden—17:16
- 13th: Daeton Byars—17:24
- 14th: Jose Villegas—17:25
Seth Bowden of Maryville High School was second at 16:11, and Gavin Cooper of Campbell County was third at 16:16.
Oak Ridge had 32 points to take first place. Maryville, which finished second, had 48 points, and Stone Memorial, which was third, had 64.
- 2nd: Genevieve Schwartz—20:06
- 3rd: Abbey Greenhalgh—20:12
- 8th: Robyn Wood—20:46
- 10th: Jessie Strader—20:57
- 12th: Maddie Zawisza—21:33
- 13th: Mollie Smith—21:51
- 18th: Ruthie Froning—22:26
Maddy Moody of Anderson County High School finished first overall at 19:49.
The Oak Ridge team had 35 points to take first place. Maryville, which finished second, had 61 points, and Rhea County High School, which was third, had 85.
A week earlier, on October 1, the boys had three of the top 13 runners at the Wendy’s Invitational in Charlotte.
“Anytime you go out of state and get a win, that’s a good thing,” Etheridge said.
The last time the boys had an invitational win in a big meet was in 2007.
“We ran really well against Hardin Valley,” Etheridge said. And “Jake got a great win.”
Dalton Morgan, who finished sixth in North Carolina, “jumped a big gap,” which was unexpected, Etheridge said.
The girls cut some gaps that they had had before and were way more competitive than they had been, Etheridge said.
He said he wants a “big mental push” for the regional meet and state championships.
Etheridge said he’s pleased with the season overall. The team, boosters, parents, and runners get along well and have had fun, and it’s the strongest group he’s had academically. The kids have been pushed academically, and they’ve received good grades, Etheridge said.
“We’re really happy,” he said.
Here are the top three boys’ results from the Wendy’s Invitational:
- 1st: Jacob Etheridge—15:55.13
- 6th: Dalton Morgan—16:31.28
- 13th: Jose Villegas—16:49.43
The Oak Ridge team finished first with 70 points. Cary was second with 97, and Eastside finished third with 109. Hardin Valley Academy was fourth with 114.
The Oak Ridge girls finished seventh. Providence was first, Laney was second, and Hardin Valley was third.
Schwartz was eighth overall in the girls’ race, with a time of 19:44.33. Jenna Wall (19:37.64) of Hardin Valley was fifth, and Madison Grimm (19:38.15) was sixth.
See the Cherokee Invitational boys’ results here.
See the Cherokee Invitational girls’ results here.
See the Wendy’s Invitational boys’ results here.
See the Wendy’s Invitational girls’ results here.
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