Tithof hitting stride as regionals approach

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By Valerie Spence
For Blount Today

With less than a month left in the season, the Cherokee Boulevard All-Comers meet on Oct. 7 gave high school cross-country runners in Blount County a chance to measure their progress this season and gauge the pace for the upcoming county and regional championships.

Across the board times were faster than the Sept. 2 Cherokee Classic on the same course. William Blount’s Kristen Tithof took first place in Saturday’s meet with a time of 19 minutes, 17 seconds, beating her season-opening performance at Cherokee despite a few dozen added meters on the first lap because of some confusion about the course layout.

"I was really hoping to break 19 [minutes], but with different factors it didn’t happen," Tithof said.

Even with the additional challenges Tithof, a sophomore and last season’s regional champion, ran a strong race. The second lap followed the official course, and the All-State performer led her team to a second place finish overall. Finishing second for William Blount and 10th overall was senior Morgan Sharp, who also improved her time at Cherokee, dropping over thirty seconds to 21:34. Sharp believes the team’s performance at this race is an indication of how the rest of the season will progress.

"It was good competition out there," Sharp said. "I think we’ve all got good potential for regionals."

Finishing third for the Lady Governors’ was Allie Smith at 21:52, followed by Lisa Kelly at 23:16 and Brooke Wilson at 23:59.
The Lady Rebels took third place as a team, with Ally Colvin heading the pack for Maryville, finishing in 11th overall with a time of 20:06, nearly a minute faster than her previous time. Colvin hopes to see even more improvement as the close of the season approaches.

"I’m moving up, but I still think I have a little bit more in me," Colvin said. "I’ve been working really hard, so hopefully it will come through for me."

Jessica Brandes finished second for Maryville with a time of 21:59. Camille Crumpton, third for the Lady Rebels, dropped more than a minute from her time at Cherokee. Andrea Stedman, number four for Maryville, reduced her time by almost a minute and a half to 22:18, with Lisa Waters cutting her time by almost 60 seconds to 22:48.

Heritage freshman Elizabeth Warner, competing for the Lady Mountaineers with a time of 25:48, knocked an impressive three minutes off her previous time at Cherokee.

Oak Ridge High School took first place for both the girls’ and boys’ races, sweeping second through sixth place for individual female finishers. Oak Ridge’s Chris Cole finished first in the boys’ race, with places three through six also filled by Oak Ridge runners.

The Rebels finished second overall, and times for scorers were down by an average of 15 seconds from the Cherokee Classic. Rett Coode finished first for Maryville and seventh overall in 16:51. The rest of the pack finished within 35 seconds and 10 places of their leader, with Clint Mckelvey (12th, 17:13), Gabe Horton (14th, 17:23), Evan Frisco (15th, 17:25) and Jack Meadows (17th, 17:26) rounding out the Rebel charge.

The Governors took third as a team, led by sophomore Zach Floyd in 11th place with a time of 17:06. William Blount’s second was Travis Wilson in 13th place at 17:16, followed by John Green in 17:29, Shawn Thompson in 18:17 and Cory Rimmer in 18:27.

Heritage competed with a full team and finished in 10 place in the boys’ race. Matthew Cox led the Mountaineers at 18:02, followed by Spencer Buchanan (21:54), Jordan Kear (22:37), Franklin Johnson (22:42) and Derrick Dale (25:35).

Blount County teams will meet again at Victor Ashe Park on Friday to determine county rankings and then again on Oct. 26 to compete in the regional championships.

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