MURFREESBORO — The Midstate pulled off the sweep Monday at the 2016 Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association State Pentathlon Championships.
After East Nashville’s Grenetria Shell (Class A-AA) and Ensworth’s Tyra Gittens (Division II) comfortably defended their 2015 titles, Ravenwood senior Amber Tanner came from behind to capture the Class AAA championship, edging out Kiara Rhodes of Whitehaven by just a single point.
“I was just hoping it was enough,” said Tanner, who clocked 2 minutes, 15.54 seconds in the afternoon’s final event — the 800-meter dash — to secure the title with 3,444 points. “I didn’t know what the final standings were until they called us to the medal stands.”
Overton’s Kelsea Buchanan finished sixth in Class AAA with 2,890 points, while Rossview’s Bethany Rich also reached the podium, finishing tied for seventh with 2,863 points.
“It shows that (track in Middle Tennessee) is very, very strong,” Tanner said. “Every single event is stacked, but I think that’s why we’re so good. Every meet you go to you can’t go and run and give it half of your ability. You have to be your best every time out and I think that makes all of us stronger.”
Shell, a senior Tennessee State signee who scored wins in the long jump (18 feet, 9.25 inches) and high jump (5 feet, 3.75 inches) while placing second in the 100-meter hurdles (14.93 seconds), finished with 3,485 points — 243 more than last season’s state championship effort.
“It was harder this year because there was more competition,” said Shell, who bested runner-up Lennex Walker of Chattanooga Arts and Sciences by a 205-point margin. “I felt a little more pressure this year because everybody was expecting me to win. I just had to keep my points up, stay focused and maintain. I had it in me, I just had to prove it.”
Creek Wood’s Caroline Edmonson finished third in Class A-AA with 3,179 points, while Shell’s teammate — junior Micquana Webster — landed in eighth with 2,696.
Gittens, meanwhile, who set a personal record in Monday’s long jump with a distance of 20-0¼ while also claiming wins in the 100-meter hurdles (14.61), high jump (5-8) and shot put (35-1¼), outscored her closest competitor — Harding Academy’s Sarah Luttrell — by nearly 700 points.
“It was really funny because I thought it was a bad jump,” Gittens said of her record-setting leap. “I had forgotten that half of the board is on the runway, so when I hit the sand it looked like 12 feet.”
Other Midstate medalists in Division II included fourth-place Harpeth Hall’s Jordyn Lesh (fourth), Ensworth’s Jenna Rolfe (sixth), Harpeth Hall’s Kesley Kay Herring (seventh) and Brentwood Academy’s Alayna Holbert (eighth)
Patrick, Stout lead decathlon: Through five events, a pair of defending champions — Brentwood Academy’s George Patrick (DII) and CPA’s William Stout (A-AA) — hold comfortable leads in their respective classifications.
Patrick, the reigning Tennessean Boys Track Athlete of the Year, holds a 409-point lead on second-place Daniel Tell of Briarcrest, while Stout is currently clinging to a 317-point advantage over Greenville’s Takeem Young.
Independence’s Nate Johnson led the Class AAA standings through three events, but the senior Michigan football signee finished the first day in fourth place with 2,949 points — 510 points behind first-place Jacob Sobota of Bearden.