Jacob Rutledge Claims State Cross Country Title for CCMS

Coach Nathan Wanuch and members of the CCMS XC team on Saturday at the state meet. (Left to right) Greenlee Woods, Wanuch, Ethan Welch and Jacob Rutledge [Photo provided]

Jacob Rutledge of the Coffee County Middle School cross country team claimed the state title on Saturday in the TMSSA State Cross Country Championship in Clarksville.  Rutledge, who finished 2nd at the middle sectional championship 2 weeks ago, sprinted past Joe Neglia of John Sevier MS to capture the crown with a time of 11:37.02 over the 2 mile course.

Rutledge was one of 3 Coffee Middle runners competing in the event and is the first runner from Coffee County Middle School to earn a state championship in cross country.   Greenlee Woods survived a fall in the final half mile to finish in 17th place out of 104 runners.  Woods, a 6th grader, completed the 2 mile course in a time of 13:56.49.  That time was 6th best among 6th grade runners in the event.

Ethan Welch also qualified for the state meet and finished in 29th place, out of 116 runners, with a time of 12:50.79.  That time represents an improvement of 50 seconds over his time in the middle sectional meet.  Welch was the lone CCMS runner competing at the state meet to have been with the program since its inception 3 years ago.

After the race, Coach Nathan Wanuch was effusive in his praise for his runners.  “I couldn’t be more proud of how all three performed today! Greenlee had an exceptional race. She is a 6th grader going up against older 7th & 8th graders and she holds her own.  For her to do so well in her first year as a middle schooler makes me so excited to see how much she will improve in the next two years. She has so much potential!  Ethan had a great race today too!  I know he wanted to do better than he did, but he has been the heart and soul of the middle school team for three years.  I doubt there would even be a team without the efforts of Ethan to recruit athletes and build the team. He has been an incredible leader and has helped every athlete on the team to improve.  For him to finish 29th in the state is a great way to bring his middle school Cross Country career to an end.  I’m so proud of how he has grown as an athlete and an individual. Jacob had the perfect race today.  For a runner who has only been running for a little over a year, he has had an amazing career so far.  He has developed into such a smart racer. He knows how to pace himself and he knows how to read his competition and adjust his race to that.  All three athletes have had great seasons and represented Coffee County well at the state meet.  The future of our program looks great and I’m so excited to see these athletes continue to grow in the coming years.”

Coach Nathan Wanuch will have members of the CHS cross country team competing in Mid State Cross Country Association championship meet on Saturday.  The boys’ race will get underway at 10:30 AM and the girls’ race follows at 11:15 AM.   The championship races will take place at Buckner Park in Dickson.