Maryville made a clean sweep of the Panther Creek Cross Country Invitational Saturday morning as both the girls and boys teams posted impressive times.
In the boys’ race, the Rebels had four of the top finishers and won the event with 18 points, out-pacing second place Morristown West who had 68 points. The Hurricanes of Morristown East placed third with 79 points and were followed by Sevier County (91), Alcoa (138), Westmoreland (188), West Greene (196), Cocke County (253), Cumberland County (265) and Lakeway Christian Academy (270).
Tommy Ward was the overall winner with a time of 17:22 which was 31 seconds ahead of teammate David Crow. Morristown West’s Christian Henry had the best time for the Trojans at 18:37 which placed him sixth. Teammate Patrick Liposky also placed in the top 10 with a time of 18:43 which was good for eighth place. Morristown East’s Ryan Sadlon rounded out the top 10 runners as he finished the event with a time of 18:59.
West head coach Doug Burroughs said the Trojans’ first event of the year showed areas where they need to improve. “I felt like we didn’t run our best. Our varsity boys seemed a little flat today so I’m not sure what the problem there was. They are not happy with themselves and they understand they have to get better but this is the first race of the year and we will take this and try to get better next week. I did feel like our junior varsity boys really made a nice effort today so I was pleased with some younger guys on the team but the varsity boys still have some work to do before our next event in Greeneville.”
“I was very proud of the way our guys ran their race today,” East head coach J.D. Newsom said of the Hurricanes. “We have been practicing and working towards this all summer with our 6 a.m. workouts. Our guys are buying into what we are trying to do here at Morristown East. Ryan Sadlon finished in the top 10 so that was exciting to see. I’m looking forward to seeing how this season goes.”
The Hurricanes take part in the Panther Creek All-Comers event in early September and Newsome said an area of emphasis going into that event is how his team will close out races. “We need to work on finishing those last 800 meters. We have to work on finishing strong and getting to the line. I’ve been preaching all summer how we have to finish all the way through because every spot matters.”
The girls’ race was much closer as the Lady Rebels narrowly edged Sevier County in points, 40 to 45. Audie-Marie Jones won the event for Maryville with a time of 19:18. The Bearettes had three finishers in the top 10 which allowed them to pull ahead of third-place Morristown West who had 55 points. The Lady Hurricanes of East finished fourth with 82 points. Two Lady Trojans finished in second and third place, respectively, as Julianne Dodson turned in a time of 21:47 and Madisyn Page was close behind at 22:13. Ashlyn Haas ran a time of 23 minutes to place eighth and Heidy Martinez was ninth at 23:20.
Burroughs has an inexperienced team in 2019 and he said the Lady Trojans showed a great deal of potential. “I was pleased with the girls today because we have a really young team with two seniors, four sophomores and a bunch of freshmen. For being that young, I thought they ran well.”
The Lady ‘Canes were paced by two first year runners and that was something exciting for Newsome to see. “Our top two runners — Heidy Martinez and Emma Ventura — are actually freshmen and they are both going to be great runners for us. We want to keep grinding and get to where we need to be.”