Three’s company: TRM girls CC takes third straught state runner-up

Published 8:32 am Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The T.R. Miller Lady Tiger cross country team found themselves in a familiar spot Saturday at the state cross country meet in Oakville.
For the third straight year, the Lady Tigers earned the class 3A state runner-up trophy.
The Lady Tigers fell 18 points short losing to Rogers 60-42.
Last season the Lady Tigers lost by two points to Montgomery Academy and in 2008, came up seven points short also to Montgomery Academy.
Saturday, the Lady Tigers placed first and second overall in the race with overall state champion Karisa Nelson placing first with a time of 18:41.54 and Shelby Youngblood placing second with a time of 19:38.07.
Rogers would place third and fourth and fifth while T.R. Miller’s third runner across, Katie Nelson ran a time of 20:39.36 for a ninth place finish to tie the meet at 12-12 after three runners.
Rogers fourth runner came earned 13 points to T.R. Miller’s 16 and their fifth runner earned 17 to T.R. Miller’s 32 to claim the title.
Amber Nelson placed 20th overall for T.R. Miller with a time of 21:17.94 and Amber Terry placed 42nd with a time of 22:26.11.
Katie Baggett, Emmy Granade and Breann Huff placed 74th, 75th, and 76th while Taylor Guthrie placed 101st and Abbie Carlson placed 104th.
T.R. Miller’s second place finish was out of 13 teams and there were 128 total runners in the race.
Rogers previously placed second last year in 4A to UMS-Wright and first in 2008.
Karisa Nelson and Shelby Youngblood placed national elite times with Nelson claiming her second straight overall first place.
This year, Nelson shaved off 12 seconds from her 2009 time of 18:53 as an eighth grader. Nelson placed second in 2008 as a seventh grader with a time of 19:17.
T.R. Miller will lose no seniors from the team this year and their 10 finishers Saturday are in the following grades: freshman, sophomore, freshman, junior, freshman, junior, freshman, seventh grade, junior, junior.
While the girls took second place, two T.R. Miller Tiger boys competed in the race as individuals.
Christian Carlson placed 15th overall and was the third overall boy competing as an individual while Rob Stokes placed 24th overall. Carlson’s time was 18:15.48 and Stokes’ time was 18:34.58. Carlson and Stokes ran against 127 total runners and placed in the top-25.
“Overall, I thought we had a tremendous year for the program, “ T.R. Miller Tiger cross country coach Rob Atkinson said. “The overall program improved in size and our boys basically came from nothing to being extremely competitive. Our boys, with the time they had, if we could have got out of our sectional, we would have been in the top five in the state.
“I was very pleased with their progress and how some of our younger runners improved so much. They really did a great job for us and our training went in the right direction. That was a good thing for us.”
Atkinson said the times in the girls race Saturday was a little disappointing.
“They were not as good as I thought they should have been,” Atkinson said. “We went out there and competed as hard as we possibly could have and they laid it all on the line. They ran like they were representing T.R. Miller and that is all we could have asked them to do. We just came up a little bit short. Rogers is just a better team than we were. That is just something that in happens in any sport. A lot of other teams would have liked to been where we were.
“There are 64 other teams that would have liked to have the trophy that we have. We are very fortunate to get that part and I am very pleased that we went up there and competed and represented well.”
Atkinson said the championship would come down to four teams—Rogers, T.R. Miller, Montgomery Academy and Randolph—and that is exactly what happened right down the line.
“We knew we would need to come out and run perfect,” Atkinson said. “We knew we would have to run better than we had all year to get that done. We just didn’t quite get that done and that happens in sports. Anytime you play and you are not up to your peak performance, I am afraid we may have peaked a week early. I hate that, but that happens some times.”
The good thing about this team is that they are all coming back.
“We are going to get a few more, some good sixth and seventh grade runners that will be good for us,” Atkinson said. “They will be sub-21:00 and will be able to contribute next year. Maybe that will help some of our five and six places out next year some. It is a little disappointing to finish second, but it has still been a great season. They have done so much and hopefully we will do better and get it next year. Our goal is to win a state championship.
“It was this year and will be again next year.”

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