RUNNER OF THE YEAR
BARBARA LEE BALL
Lipscomb Acad., senior
Why chosen: She won her third straight Class A/AA title 19:09.42. Ball won by 1:07.07 over CPA’s Jessica Clarke. She finished second as a freshman in 2009 and third as an eighth-grader in 2008. She beat Siegel’s Nicole Gardner, the Class AAA champion, by 24 seconds at the Jesse Owens Invitational, the only time they ran in the same race this season.
College plans: She has committed to Lipscomb.
Quote: “My freshman year I wasn’t really expecting anything, and I came in second and I was so excited. That just kind of pushed me to work harder because I wanted to win state.”
Family: Parents Mason and Cindy; brother, Robert, 22; cats, Snowball, Bella and Pause.
What’s on your iPod?: “A lot of Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry. I like a lot of country.”
Best high school sports moment: “Winning (state) this year was really exciting because my team was there for me. We didn’t make it to state as a team, but they came out to support me. It was the last time running on Steeplechase and them being there to share it with me was nice.”
Favorite athlete: “Probably either Peyton Manning or Kara Goucher. I’m a UT fan, and I love watching him play for the Broncos. Kara is a marathon runner. I like her work ethic.”
Favorite food: “I do like dark chocolate and fettuccine Alfredo.”
Least favorite part of practice: “I’m not a huge drills fan. We do bounding, high knees, A skips, B skips and C skips to warm up.”
Athletic background: “I played soccer and basketball when I was younger. Basketball I gave up in about the seventh grade. Soccer I gave up in about the fourth grade because the middle school didn’t have a team. I run track. Last year I got the triple — I won the 800-meter run, the 1,600 and the 3,200.”
Best Christmas gift: “My family is coming to my house for Christmas. They live in Virginia.”
Cane Ridge, sophomore
Why chosen: She finished second in Class AAA (18:57.97) and the Junior Ward Tennessee Classic gold division (18:50.92).
Brentwood Acad., junior
Why chosen: She won the Division II-AA title with a 19:18.78 and ran a personal-best 18:21 at the Foot Locker South Regional.
Why chosen: She won the Class AAA championship with an 18:44.13, the fastest time of any Midstate runner.
Why chosen: She finished third in Division II-AA with a 19:45.05 and won the A.F. Bridges Invitational (20:19.59).
Dabney Chitwood, Ravenwood, Sr.
Trisha Frazer, Siegel, Sr.
Lizzy Kroeger, Independence, Jr.
Jessica Rizor, Beech, So.
Julia Rizor, Beech, So.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Why chosen: Ravenwood won its second straight Class AAA title with 90 points to win by 59 over Siegel. Morristown West, the pre-race favorite, took third with 169. The Lady Raptors won the McCallie Invitational, which boasted a field of teams that had won a combined 40 state titles. Ravenwood finished second in the gold division of the Junior Ward Tennessee Classic and third at the Jesse Owens Invitational.
Quote: “I told the girls last fall (2011) that the only thing harder than winning a state title is winning two in a row. Defending our title was even more challenging because we lost four out of our top seven from the 2011 team, and ended up having three freshmen in our top five. To overcome those odds, plus a late-season injury to our No. 1 runner (Dabney Chitwood) and win by 59 points in a field where there were seven teams that were contending is nothing short of amazing. I am so proud of the girls for the focus and determination they displayed all summer/fall, and for the belief in each other at the state meet.”
RECENT GIRLS RUNNERS OF THE YEAR
2011: Nicole Gardner, Siegel
2010: Hannah Denton, Dickson Co.
2009: Barbara Lee Ball, David Lipscomb
2008: Kathy Kroeger, Independence
2007: Kathy Kroeger, Independence