On Saturday, September 30, the Blaze and Lady Blaze kicked off Fall Break traveling to Cookeville for the Burnett Invitational. A smaller meet, the runners were short handed due to some early departures but found the most comprehensive team effort of the year this far. Each race found Blackman runners in the mix on a rather difficult course. The haul of medals, personal best times, and a third place trophy spoke for the results both as a team and individuals.
In the Ladies’ Varsity race, Landri Wilcox from Cookeville won the meet in 18:55. Kaelyn Maier from Merroll Hyde Magnet was the runner up in 19:23. For the Lady Blaze Megan Roth continued her highly successful inaugural year with a 6th place finish (and medal) with a season best 21:34. Amanda May also ran her best race of the year with a 23:55 – good enough for 18th place and a medal as well. Olivia Sorrell ran a 25:09, Aiyanna Gallant ran a 25:26, and Kayla Zuck (off of another late night singing with the rock back finished in 27:38. Newcomer Lyna Malyvanh competed in her first Varsity race finishing in 34:48. This race was by far the most complete race of the year for the Lady Blaze. These youngsters not only are building on the future, but are becoming more competitive on a weekly basis. The results showed in the results. Cookeville won the meet with Merroll Hyde finishing in second. But the Lady Blaze finished – a point behind fourth place Central Magnet – and not too far from third place Mount Juliet. These ladies are putting forth effort and beginning to compete with teams they will need to be competitive with to take the next step in the future.
The Boys’ Varsity found Aiden Britt of Lebanon running away with the individual title with a time of 16:33. Christian Locke of Warren County finished as the runner up in 17:23. Again the Blaze ran a very solid team race and placed two guys in the medal haul. Julian Young again led the team with a 19:09 time – good enough for 18th. Luke Porter was right behind in 19:11 and 19th place. Aiden Crockett and Alex Ketel were 24th and 25th (19:37 and 19:40) not far from medaling themselves. Owen Vinson continued his weekly improvement finishing in 30th place with a 19:54. This placed everyone in the top five under twenty minutes. On a course with this difficulty, this was an accomplishment. Other varsity finishers Chad Brandon (20:24) and Caleb Newton (20:27) were also in the top forty and blocked other runners.
Every runner was important with the ever important team scores. Mr. Juliet won the meet with 35 points. Cookeville finished as runners up with 58 points. The Blaze efforts were rewarded with a distant third in 116 points and a 19:30 1-5 placement average time. However, Tullahoma, Warren County, and Lebanon finished fourth, fifth, and sixth and the Blaze put some distance between these teams since the beginning of the season (145, 163, and 166 points respectively). This shows the improvement as the team has lost the top runner for the season and was short handed with Fall Break. But the effort and results showed and they brought the third place trophy home as a tangible result of this effort.
In the final race of the day Kyle Dodson completed a very tough top five finish by finishing fourth in the JV race (20:47) and earning a medal. Newcomer Jack Dees was a minute behind nearly cracking the top ten finishing eleventh (21:46). Kyle Hamilton finished close behind in 13th while Sterling Smith – coming off some long term injuries finished 17 and Jack Allen finished 19th. Other Blaze Harriers finishing the race included: Taichi Nosaka, 21st, AJ Bloomfiled, 23rd, Nick Chanthaseng, 26th, and Hassan Syed in 29th.
After a week off and enjoying Fall Break, both teams will be training hard this week to put their efforts to the test on a flat, fast course in Alabama at the “Dew It on the Trails” Invite at Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama. Hopefully, season personal bests will be a common occurrence at this race.