County dominates Tennessee Classic

County dominates Tennessee Classic


County dominates Tennessee Classic



Cannon County runners and parents wore t-shirts that read, “We run this town” on the back.

The slogan was better suited for Murfreesboro runners on Saturday as they won three of four individual races and took second in the other at the 36th Junior Ward Tennessee Classic.

Murfreesboro schools also won two team titles at the 5-kilometer Steeplechase cross country course in Percy Warner Park.

“It’s just incredible — the amount of talent that there is in Rutherford County,” Central Magnet coach Steve Ludwig said. “Oakland and Siegel are outstanding in triple-A.”

Central Magnet’s Andre Hillsman (boys silver division), Oakland’s Brock Baker (boys gold division) and Siegel’s Nicole Gardner (girls gold division) each won individual titles. Central Magnet’s Claudia Smith took second in the girls silver division (enrollments below 1,200.)

Central Magnet (boys silver) and Oakland (boys gold) both captured team titles.

Baker finished in 15:51.25, winning by 11.23 seconds over Morristown West’s Quintin McKinnish.

It was Baker’s first race at the Steeplechase course since he suffered an allergic reaction to a steroid used to treat poison oak at the Class AAA meet last November. He was leading with 800 meters left before collapsing and finishing 185th out of 189 runners.

“It was exciting to get back on here and face old friends, and my old friend, the Steeplechase course,” Baker said. “I wasn’t worried about what I did in November. I just wanted to come here, and not put extra pressure on myself to do what I needed to do. It was irresponsible on my part to take that (steroid) right before the state meet, but I didn’t know what it was going to do to my body. It’s a shame, but that’s old news. The cool thing is we can move forward, and live another day.”

The senior has narrowed his college choices to Virginia, North Carolina State, Georgetown, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

Oakland won the team championship with 112 points. Oakland’s Conner Thompson took third with a 16:27.51.

“This is a good setup for what we expect to happen hopefully for state,” Patriots coach Jason Wooten said. “This has traditionally been a really contested meet. We had a bunch of first-timers who ran really well.”

Gardner ran an 18:50.92 to win the girls gold race (any size school) by nearly 24 seconds over Cane Ridge’s Bailee Dean.

“I didn’t expect it, that’s for sure,” Gardner said. “I just wanted to do my best, and I did. The hills are killer.”

Ravenwood took second in the girls gold with 134 points, finishing 72 behind Morristown West.

Central Magnet, a third-year school, won the boys silver division with 89 points to finish 22 ahead of runner-up Father Ryan.

Hillsman recorded a 16:56.13 to win by 16.84 seconds over runner-up Ben Moroney of Trinity Christian.

“I had a smart race, and my splits were pretty consistent,” said Hillsman, “I didn’t get the time I actually wanted, but I’m glad I could go out here and get a good preparation for the big races like state.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports