Ready to make a statement

Tithof, Rebels set for cross

Photo with no caption
By Valerie Spence
For Blount Today

At the Region 2 Cross Country Championships on Oct. 26 at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville, each runner was scored individually, but no one ran alone. Spectators ran from one section of the course to the next to encourage the runners, and the cheers didn’t stop until the last one was in.

Blount County’s top runners, William Blount’s Kristen Tithof, who finished in first place in the girls race, and Spenser Tipton of Maryville, who took fourth place in the boys field, both say that they couldn’t have done it alone.

Tithof, who ran a personal-record time of 19 minutes, 1 second in the 5K race, credits second place finisher Alex Newby for helping her defend her 2005 regional title.

"She (Newby) truly is an amazing runner, and I owe my P.R. 110 percent to her," Tithof said. "I also do not feel like I am a better runner than she is. I just happened to have a better race today. I know that if I had gotten second, I would want the first place girl to do the same for me. Besides, she earned it."

Tithof’s mother, Patti, is proud of her daughter’s attitude about the race.

"She was disappointed when she came in second in the last race, but I told her, ‘Kristy, it’s okay to be second,’ and she was thinking that today."

Tithof will represent the Lady Governors at the state championships in Nashville on Saturday.

Maryville coach Tim Carnes emphasizes his team’s attitude as one of the factors the Rebels will take to Nashville.

"What’s interesting about this group is that you can’t really pick just one individual out," Carnes said. "They care about each other so much. They’re just like family; you’d think they were brothers."

The first and fifth finishers for Maryville in the regional championships are, in fact, brothers. Leader Spenser Tipton, pulled a time of 16:37 and his younger brother, Hunter, came in as the rearguard of the Rebel pack with a time of 17:53. Spenser was impressed with his brother’s performance as well as that of his other teammates.

"It was definitely the best race he’s had all season," Spenser Tipton said. "He (Hunter) and Jack (Meadows) (17:46) both just had incredible races."

Rett Code (17:04), ninth place finisher and Clint Mckelvey (17:44) completed the top five runners for Maryville.

Carnes says that his team’s performance at the regional meet was the result of a long season of hard work and preparation.

"They were confident going in that they could grab the opportunity, after putting in all the miles and doing the long practices," he said. "They knew that they were in a special spot, and they’ll be in a special spot on Saturday."

Preparations for Saturday include more of the same, Carnes said.

"We’re not doing anything different. We’re trying to make sure that we do all of the little things right," he said.
Tipton has high hopes for the Rebels.

"I think we have a pretty good chance," he said. "I think our goal would be a top five finish."

Tipton’s personal goal is to finish within the top 10 individuals. He said he’s looking forward to facing the mental challenge of
the race as well.

"You know it’s going to hurt and you have to be prepared for that, but that pain is going to end," he said. "You have to push through the pain."

Tithof is also planning ahead. Along with attending to the details of diet and rest, she’s set to build on her accomplishment
at the 2005 state meet.

"I’d like to finish like top eight," she said. "I think I finished like 13th last year, and I’d like to improve on that. So that’s my
main goal."

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