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Local teams off and running
WCHS, Boyd compete in local cross country meet
Philip Brock, left, and Grant Hitchcock run side by side during Tuesday's cross country event at Warren County High School. Brock placed 10th in a field of 66 boys while Hitchcock turned in a personal-best time as the freshman Pioneer finished 16th. - photo by Jeffery Simmons

For just the second time, the Warren County High School cross country team played host to a meet in McMinnville. The MSCCA midweek meet was held Tuesday and featured 16 high school teams and 11 middle school squads.
Cannon County was the big winner at the event as the Lions and Lady Lions won the high school competitions. The Cannon County Middle School girls team also took home a team victory Tuesday. In the boys middle school competition, Manchester Westwood placed first.
Warren County nearly claimed a victory on its home course as the Lady Pioneers placed second. On the boys side, the Pioneers finished fourth. Boyd also had competitors in the boys middle school and high school divisions, though the Broncos didn’t have enough members to compete for a team title.
Coach Amy Baird revived the cross country program four years ago and has steadily grown the numbers of participants. Her next step was to hold an event in town, something she accomplished last year and was able to do again this year.
Seeing so many runners – over 150 in all – take part in the event was something that made coach Baird smile.
“This year’s home meet was definitely a success,” said Baird. “I was proud of how our girls placed and how our boys are improving every meet.”
The Lady Pioneers had four members win medals while helping the team finish second. Sophomore Valerie Hubert paced the team with a time of 25 minutes, one second – good for ninth at the event.
Hubert’s crossing opened the floodgates for the Lady Pioneers as Ella Hale, Allison Hubert and Alex Hobbs were right behind their teammate.
Hale, a junior, finished 10th at 25:35. Allison Hubert came in 12th with a time of 26:23 while Hobbs claimed the event’s final medal by placing 15th at 27:40.
Sophomore Lillian Rocha contributed to the Lady Pioneer team score by placing 18th at 28:33.
Each team’s top-five finishers are taken into account for the final score. All places are added together and the team with the lowest combined finish wins. Warren County’s total was 59 – well behind the pace set by Cannon County.
The Lady Lions had five of the top-eight individual finishers, led by race winner Hannah Whited’s time of 21:08. Cannon County finished with a total of 22.
Other finishers for the Lady Pioneers included sophomore Kara Caten (30:06 – 21st), junior Alexis Wanamaker (32:13 – 24th) and senior Josefina Rocha (32:13 – 25th).
On the boys side, junior Joey Hitchcock was the lone Pioneer to win a medal when he clocked in at 19:18. Boyd sophomore Philip Brock also claimed a medal by finishing 10th with a time of 19:45.
Helping the Pioneers place fourth with a score of 93 were freshman Grant Hitchcock (20:22 – 16th), freshman Jackson Noblin (21:32 – 22nd), sophomore Paxton Smith (22:00 – 26th) and sophomore Ben Myers (22:11 – 30th). It was the fastest 5K time Noblin, Myers and Grant Hitchcock have turned in during their young careers.
Other Warren County boys runners were sophomore Rylan Lorance (23:22 – 37th), senior Bo Tate (23:49 – 41st) and sophomore Mario Hernandez (25:25 – 49th). Lorance’s time was also a personal best.
Cannon County senior Marshal McReynolds won with a time of 17:50, helping the Lions win the boys event with a score of 26. Grundy County placed second, followed by Coffee County.
In the middle school boys event, Boyd had three runners participate. Seventh-graders Dallas Green and Drake Stubblefield just missed winning medals as they finished 16th and 17th respectively. Green was clocked at 17:17 while Stubblefield was only four seconds behind. Sixth-grader Ben Todd was 21st with a time of 17:44.
Baird is happy would love to see more young local teams spring up by next year.
“It was great to have the middle school races this year. I hope we can eventually get a middle school team of our own,” said Baird.
The WCHS cross country teams will be back running next week in the Cookeville MSCCA event held Tuesday, Sept. 16.