In a rare, but delightful, scheduling convergence, the Coffee County and Westwood cross country teams all took part in the St. Andrews-Sewanee Meet on Thursday. With races for high school and middle school boys and girls, the day featured an opportunity for the local harriers to compete against one another and other area rivals. Each team facing a course that was both challenging and diverse in its terrain.
Middle School Meet
After competing at less than full strength in years past, the Coffee County Middle School Raiders fielded a complete roster of runners on Thursday to compete for their first ever boys team title. Not only did the Raider harriers compete, they won! Eighth graders Jacob Rutledge and Ethan Welch blistered the 1.55 mile course to finish first and second respectively. Rutledge posted a time of 8:41 while Welch clocked in at 9:06. Westwood posted the 3rd and 4th place finishers as Louie Frazier and Bodey Todd were the top runners for the Rockets respectively. Coffee County’s Ethan Beaty was 6th and the Westwood duo of Brady Nugent(8th place) and Luke Beachboard(10th) gave the Manchester runners a lion’s share of Top 10 finishes.
In team scoring, Coffee County came in first place overall a mere 8 points ahead of Westwood. South Middle came in 3rd place. Also capturing strong finishers for the locals were Connor Cravens(17th), John Dobson(21st), Keiton Sherrill(30th and Jon Askins(31st) for Westwood. For Coffee Middle, Bradley Escue finished in 12th, Breyton Anderson was 123th and Clayton Bryant was 24th.
In the girls’ race, the Lady Rockets continued their team dominance as captured the team title easily outdistancing South Franklin who finished in 2nd place. Rylea McNamara was the top finisher for Westwood as she broke the tape in 3rd place. Kailee Rossman finished 5th, Lizabeth Martinez was 7th, Mattalyn Goney came in 8th, Marisol Moreno was 12th, Lenor Moreno Rivera was 13th and Brookelyn George came in 14th. The Lady Raiders of Coffee Middle fielded only 1 runner, Haley Koren (HK) Sherrill, who finished in 11th place.
In the high school races, the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders each captured Top 3 finishes. With the absence of senior runners Byanka Woods and Sarah Pearson, the Lady Raiders were paced by senior Emily St. John who finished in 2nd place which helped lift Coffee County to a 3rd place finish. Lady Raider freshmen runners Zoe Mills, Jasie Willis, Shelby Watkins and Kara Mueller rounded out the top 5 finishers for Coffee County in the girls’ race.
The Red Raiders were once again paced by senior Bradley Kishpaugh who captured 2nd place in the boys’ race. Fellow senior, Neil Slone, was the second runner across the line for the Raiders. Andres Cavalie, Renato Garcia and Rueben Chaput rounded out the top five for the team. Larson Meltzer and Jacob Melton finished off the varsity team. Christian Alvarez and Eric French both ran strong races for the JV team. As a team, the Raiders finished 2nd, only five points behind Franklin County.
All three programs, and all 6 teams, will be in action on Tuesday as they will run in Manchester at the newly reopened Old Stove Fort Golf Course. The meet, hosted by Coffee County, will feature races for middle school and high school teams and the first race will get underway at 4 PM. A huge contingent of runners and spectators is expected and fans are encouraged to carpool and get their early. Special thanks to Tink and Judy Driver and the Old Stone Fort Golf Club for hosting the meet.