5 Male Runners To Watch
Brock Baker, Oakland, Sr.: Enters season as favorite to win Class AAA title.
Tyler Boone, Siegel, Sr.: Set a personal best of 16:24 recently in race in Louisville.
Brandon Harvey, Riverdale, Jr.: Leads Warriors and could be one of top three runners in county.
Andre Hillsman, Central Magnet, Jr.: Finished fifth in Class A/AA state meet last season.
Conner Thompson, Oakland, Sr.: Teams up with Baker to form solid 1-2 duo.
5 Female Runners To Watch
Trisha Frazer, Siegel, Sr.: Broke 20-minute barrier earlier this season.
Nicole Gardner, Siegel, So.: Finished second at Class AAA state meet as a freshman.
Maddy McClellan, Riverdale, Fr.: Newcomer already top runner for Lady Warriors.
Claudia Smith, Central Magnet, Jr.: Finished second at Class A/A state meet as a sophomore.
Hannah Waggoner, Oakland, Sr.: New to cross country, already Lady Patriots’ top runner.
Oakland boys, Siegel girls remain favorites
One thing that is certain is that Oakland’s boys and Siegel’s girls are pegged to be the top teams in the area.
Oakland has a strong core returning including Baker, Thompson, Tyler Wright and Caleb Augustin. An improved Siegel will likely push the Patriots the most among county teams.
Siegel’s girls coach Phil Young continues to turn out strong runners on the girls side as well. Young hopes to have four runners under 20 minutes, which will put the Lady Stars among the top teams in Class AAA.
Gardner leads the Lady Stars with Fraser, Kristen Wasik and Tayllor Cochrane giving Siegel a dominant quartet of runners. Riverdale is likely the second-best team entering the season behind freshman Maddy McClellan.
Tops in state?
It may be too early to say, but Rutherford County could be well represented at this year’s TSSAA state cross country meet.
Central Magnet’s Claudia Smith finished second in the Class A/AA state meet while Siegel’s Nicole Gardner each finished second in the Class AAA state meet. Central Magnet’s Andre Hillsman was fifth in the Class A/AA in 2011.
All three are expected to be state contenders in 2012. Throw in Class AAA boys favorite Brock Baker and the county has a shot at multiple top places in November.
Newcomers improve Lady Warriors
Some new faces have helped give Riverdale’s girls cross country program a big boost.
Freshman Maddy McClellan already broke Riverdale graduate Grace Pepper’s school record in the 5K. Sophomore Rosemary Lou, who was a standout distance runner for the school’s track team, left soccer and is now running cross country.
And senior Haleigh Dunning is balancing both soccer and cross country while providing leadership to coach Stephen Williams’ program.
“She goes seven days a week,” Williams said. “She has a never give up attitude.”
Lady Blaze building
Blackman will field just its third full girls team in school history. Freshman Isabelle LeGrain leads the Lady Blaze. Freshmen Jordan Greer and Jeanette Dodge add to the youth. Of the seven runners, only Hannah Champion and Danielle Carrion are seniors.