TRM cross country to run at state Saturday
The T.R. Miller girls cross country team and three boys from the boys team will compete in the AHSAA state cross country championships Saturday, Nov. 10, in Oakville, at the Oakville Indian Mounds Park Course.
The girls placed second at sectionals last Thursday in Montgomery earning them the right to compete this week.
The Lady Tigers placed second behind Bayside Academy—by one point— to earn the right to advance.
T.R. Miller totaled 39 points to Bayside Academy’s 38 points. Montgomery Catholic qualified as the third team as they finished with 65 points. Cottage Hill finished fourth with 82 points.
The top three teams advance to the state competition while the top six individual runners from non-state qualifying team rosters advance.
After three straight years of finishing as the class 3A state runner-up at the AHSAA state cross country championships, the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers placed third last year at the state meet at the Oakville Indian Mounds Park.
The Lady Tigers scored 103 points to place third behind state champion Montgomery Academy’s 36 points and runner-up Rogers’ 49 points.
The Lady Tigers had earned the class 3A state runner-up trophy three years in a row.
The Lady Tigers fell 18 points short to Rogers 60-42 in 2010. The year before, the Lady Tigers lost by two points to Montgomery Academy and in 2008, came up seven points short also to Montgomery Academy.
In the boys race Thursday at Gateway Park in Montgomery, the Tigers placed fourth out of five teams and failed to qualify for state as a team.
Montgomery Catholic came in first place with 45 points edging out Cottage Hill’s 56 points. Trinity finished in third place with 73 points while T.R. Miller had 88 points.
Bayside finished in fifth place with 94 points.
While the Tigers failed to qualify as a team, they managed to send three runners to the state meet next week. Rob Stokes, Christian Carlson and Carter Frezell all qualified for the state meet.
Tiger head coach Rob Atkinson said both his teams have had good years this season.
“I was extremely proud of our boys this year,” Atkinson said. “We made a lot of improvement from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. For the first time ever, to the final race of the year, we had every boy set a personal record. That has never happened before. We had 10 out of 10 boys do that and I was extremely proud of that. They competed like T.R. Miller was supposed to compete. I was proud of their efforts. We didn’t win or get to go to state as a team, but Rob Stokes, Christian Carlson and Carter Frezell all advanced.”
Atkinson said Trinity beat his team by 15 points, which is a very close margin.
“They were a little better than us, but we did all we could do get there,” Atkinson said. “Some times other teams are just better than you are and that was the case this time. We have a very tough region. The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state are in our region and Trinity was ranked No. 4 and we were ranked No. 7. We were not able to go to state, but that is the way it is set up. If you are not one of the top-three teams in the state, you have to do what it takes to be in the top three. We were not there yet but I am proud of their efforts.”
For his girls, Atkinson said he was a little disappointed in the sectional results.
“We had some great performances and some personal records, but it was not our best of the year,” Atkinson said. “We have had some better times during the year. We have to make some improvements during this week to have a shot at the state championship. The other teams made some improvements during the year and edged us out by one point. We had a couple of cases where we could have got that point, but we didn’t and it is going to be an even tougher task at the state meet. There are more runners in the race and it is going to spread out the field more and is going to make the scoring more tough.”
With all that said, Atkinson said his team has a chance.
“This is our fifth year in a row with our girls going to the state competition,” Atkinson said. “We have three runner-ups and a third place finish which makes it hard to complain. We would like to win the state championship one time. We have worked hard for it all year long. We are going to give it our best effort Saturday morning.”
Atkinson said the key to winning state is his fourth and fifth runners.
“Amber Terry has got to run her best time ever and Lindsay Norton has to run her best time,” he said. “If they run the goals we have set for them, we have a good chance. Karisa Nelson is going to do what she does and Allie Nelson is going to be top-five in the state. Katie Nelson will be in the top-10 in the state. If we all do that, then we will have a shot. Bayside has some really good runners. American Christian Academy is a good team. We are all neck-and-neck. It is just about who has the best day. That will be the one who wins.”
With the end of the year coming, Atkinson said it has been a great year.
“We have had some of the best attitudes,” he said. “Practices have been great. We have done a tremendous job all year long. Special thanks to Scott Huff and Alan Ash who have helped me coach this year and been at practice while I have been at football practice. They have done an awful lot to help us. It has really been a good year for us. We have done this the right way. We had our first race this year at the Brewton Middle School. Hopefully that is the first of some better things to come in the future. I have been really pleased with how things have shaped out to be this year.”
T.R. Miller will run at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.