A passion for running led Philip Brock and Anthony Palmer to seek out ways to compete in cross country this fall. Both found opportunities at MTAC schools and quickly proved to be among the best in the conference.
Brock, a freshman at Boyd Christian, was named the MTAC runner of the year last week after finishing the season with the best average time in 5K races this year. Palmer, who runs for Daniel One Academy, was named first-team all-conference in his first year of high school competition.
Both runners were recognized at last Thursday's MTAC championship, where they both placed in the top 10.
Brock won the event as he blazed past the field of 46 runners with a time of 17 minutes, 11 seconds. The victory came on the heels of finishing second at the MTAC event held at Currey Ingram last Monday.
Brock was recognized as the MTAC runner of the year following the event. The award was given to the runner whose top-three fastest times of the regular season were the lowest. Brock, with an average 5K time of 18:04, edged out Brandon Watkins from Currey Ingram by 15 seconds.
Palmer had to make a big push in the last week of the season to jump into the top six runners and earn a spot on the first team list. Palmer ran his best time of the season in the last run of the regular season. Competing at Currey Ingram, Palmer placed eighth with a time of 18:21.
He ended up saving his best for last though.
Seeing Brock fly away from the field in the MTAC championships, Palmer kept pace with a pack right behind the leaders. With a mile to go, he dipped into the reserves to make his move.
On the final stretch, Palmer raced past several competitors to cross the finish line in seventh place with a personal-best time of 18:09.
Both runners, who have developed a friendly rivalry this season, are hopeful to be back at the top of the standings next year.