2012 CROSS COUNTRY OUTLOOK: Playing catchup to state champs


2012 CROSS COUNTRY OUTLOOK: Playing catchup to state champs

By KEVIN WARNER / For Franklin Home PageFranklin comes in with a strong team, but time will tell if FHS, Centennial and Indy will escape the shadow of the ‘Woods. Page defends region; BGA rebuilds.

The 2012 cross country season looks to be one of catching up to the likes of Ravenwood and Brentwood for the Franklin-area teams.

Brentwood boys and Ravenwood girls won the District 11-AAA and state AAA titles last fall. Franklin comes in with a strong team, but time will tell if the Rebels, Centennial and Independence will escape the shadow of the ‘Woods.

In Class A-AA, Page is defending its region title but isn’t fielding a girls’ team this season. In Division II-AA, both Battle Ground Academy teams come in rebuilding.

The regional meet is Oct.25, and the state meet is Nov. 3. Both races take place in Nashville at the Steeplechase course.

BOYS

Franklin

Coach Gary Gosch’s boys cross country team returns six of its top eight runners from a year ago and wants to get in the top three team in the regional to make it to state. The Rebels had eight runners under 19 minutes and four under 18 last year, but still failed reach the state meet.

Seniors Jacob Scott, Michael Wilson, Jackson Wood, Kanaan Allen and Josh Durham, a transfer from Iowa, along with many others, should help this team towards that goal. The Brentwood, Ravenwood and Independence factor looms large.

“I kind of feel like we are Vanderbilt trying to compete in the SEC,” Gosch saod. “They could have their best team ever and still not win the conference. That’s about how we are, but with hard work and a positive attitude we can make it.”

Independence

The Eagles finished 2011 with a sixth-place finish at state, and after graduating 12 seniors — four accepted collegiate scholarships — they are in a bit of rebuilding mode.

Senior Justin Barnard and junior Micah Howard return as key runners for the Eagles in 2012.

Coach Luke Finley expects contributions from juniors Kurt Pierce and Braden Mayfield as well.

 

Page

Page won the Region 6-A/AA meet last season and finished 14th at state. This season, the Patriots aim to finish first at the state meet.

Senor Kevin O’Toole, who posted the team’s best returning time of 17:50, has the team motivated to do just that, head coach Tim Cotton said.

Sophomore Tristan Lonergan owns the next best returning time with an 18:06 as a freshman.

Patriot newcomers in 2012 include freshman Jarod Teague and Ben Sovers, and sophomores Levi Underwood, Steele Palombo and Cody Jintes.

“They’re working hard right now and that’s the goal, to win state,” Cotton said.

Battle Ground Academy

The BGA boys team possesses little experience and finds itself rebuilding, but young talent shines through. Rising freshman Mathew Minor ran an 18:51 at state as an eighth-grader after completing the middle school season.

Rising juniors Coleman Kruse and Cannon McCullough set personal records of 17:52 and 17:59 respectively at the Williamson County Championships in 2011.

Both Wildcats teams begin the Season with the Independence Invitational Aug.25.

Centennial

Coach did not participate in survey.

GIRLS

Franklin girls return six of their top eight runners from a team that finished fourth at the regional meet in 2011. Eight Runners ran under 22:30, a school record.

The Rebels’ top runner, Rachel Wooten, who  placed third in state at 18:56, graduated and now runs at Samford University.

Junior Rachel Caulkins looks to take over for Wooten as the Rebels’ No. 1 runner this season after holding the No. 2 spot last season. Fellow junior Madeline Morgan, whom Gosch called the team’s hardest worker, will take Caulkins’ spot.

Seniors Amanda Orem and Rachel Wood also return. The pair ran on the last FHS team to make state three years ago, which stands out as one of the team’s goals this year. With strong teams like Ravenwood, Independence and Brentwood, the Rebels have a tough path ahead of them.

 

The Lady Eagles have enjoyed quite a bit of success in the first two seasons under head coach Mollye Hague.

In 2010, the Eagles won the regional meet and finished fifth at state. Last season, they tallied a third-place finish at regionals and a 13th-place finish at state.

Independence returns four of the top seven from that squad and hopes for and stand poised for another exceptional season. Brenna Quinn placed 29th as a sophomore last season in 20:20, while fellow juniors Mallory Jones and Morghan Jameson return from the state team along with senior Emily Crispi.

BGA comes in trying to find its footing after an 11th-place finish at state in 2011. Newly married fifth-year head coach Heather Angola hopes her young teams can improve throughout the season.

The Lady Wildcats had two pretty stellar performances turned in by rising senior Sarah Smith and rising sophomore Breanna Kirkpatrick. Smith set a personal record, a feat accomplished by each runner on the squad in 2012, of 23:02 at the Williamson County Championships. Kirkpatrick set the pace at the JV race of the Tennessee Classic, beating 182 other runners.

“We have a relatively young team with a lot of new, inexperienced runners. We are looking to develop skills and work on technique this season,” Angola said. “We are still working to fill our girls varsity roster. We are hopeful that we will be able to find a few new girls once the school year begins.”

 

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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