Tithof, Rebels place

By Valerie Spence
For Blount Today

The TSSAA state championships in Nashville on Nov. 4 marked the end of the season for the top high school cross country runners in Blount County.

William Blount junior Kristen Tithof finished seventh in the state field with a time of 19 minutes, 21 seconds. Maryville’s Rebels placed eighth on their first trip to state, led by junior Spenser Tipton who finished in 17:17.

Rett Coode (17:18), Clint Mckelvey (17:47), Evan Frisco (18:07), Jack Meadows (18: 06), Gabe Horton (18:42) and Hunter Tipton (18:48) also ran for the Rebels. Maryville coach Tim Carnes was pleased with the team’s showing this season.
"They’re just a special group," he said. "They hang out together. They’ve put in so much hard work together."

Tithof was able to surpass her pre-race goal of finishing within the top eight.

"I was happy with my finish," she said. "I definitely didn’t have my best race, but it went well and I’ve never really done my best at high-pressure races.

"It was a beautiful day, though. There was perfect weather?. I felt pretty good during the race, too."

Both Tithof and Tipton have another season of cross country to run during their high school careers, and each has hopes of running in college.

Tipton’s father, David, says Spenser is already thinking about what he has to do to meet that goal.

"He understands that the next 12 months will decide if he is good enough to run at the next level, and I think he feels that pressure," David said. "We don't have to motivate him. He is very internally motivated."

This was not Spenser’s first trip to a state championship. As a sophomore, he finished 11 in the 1600 meters at the state track meet. His performance last track season may be a should help get the attention of college programs, David Tipton said.

"If next spring, as a junior, he can carve 10 seconds off of (his state 1600 time), I feel quite sure he will get the attention of plenty of colleges," David said.

The Tipton family plans to help Spenser build on his performance this season.

"I think this winter we are going to focus on a lot of the ancillary things like nutrition, strength training, etcetera, to try to move him to the place he wants to be," David said. "And he is looking forward to the spring."

Tithof is looking forward to the upcoming track season as well but is already experiencing some nostalgia for the end of cross country.

"I’m definitely going to run track," she said, "but I honestly wish that cross country wasn’t over. I miss it already,"

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