Nelson places first at state, girls finish 2nd
The T.R. Miller girls cross country team placed second overall at the AHSAA Class 3A State Championship in Oakville on Saturday.
Leading the pack was senior Allie Nelson, who finished in first place in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:53.29. Nelson bested second place finisher Becky Billman of American Christian Academy, who finished the race with at time of 19:29.76.
Nelson said it was exciting to win state.
“This is one of my favorite races of the year,” Nelson said. “It’s a nice course, and the competition is always great. I’m also happy that as a team we placed second. My team worked really hard and had a good year. We were a really young team and to get second at state in 3A is a very good accomplishment.”
Cross country coach Rob Atkinson said Nelson ran an excellent race.
“Allie (Nelson) really stepped up and ran her best race of the year,” Atkinson said. “It wasn’t her best time, but I think it was her best race. The whole second part of the race she had a good lead over everybody else. She did a magnificent job and capped off what has been a stellar career for her. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Eighth grader Olivia Blackmon cracked the top 10 as well, placing seventh overall with a time of 20:25.51.
Atkinson said the young girls’ team’s future looks bright.
“It’ll be tough losing Allie, but we have some really young girls coming on that can make us an even stronger team than what we had this year. We’re going to have more girls in the range of 21:30 and 20 minutes.
“Olivia Blackmon had a very strong race as one of our young runners. The key to our success this year was Carmen Knowles and Payton Baxter being the great senior leaders they were helping develop our young seventh and eighth graders. I’m really pleased on how the team finished this season and our outlook moving forward.”
Other run times for the girls’ team were:
• Madison Lum, 33rd, with a time of 22:19.86;
• Carmen Knowles, 34th, with a time of 22:21.18;
• Elisabeth Coleman, 36th, with a time of 22:28.05;
• Hannah Douglas, 44th, with a time of 22:42.60;
• Rebecca Ann Moore, 55th, with a time of 23:02.01;
• Payton Baxter, 62nd, with a time of 23:24.09;
• Emily Morgan, 73rd, with a time of 23:39.04; and,
• Samantha Morris, 92nd, with a time of 24:23.37.
The boys team finished sixth overall in its respective division. Leading the team was Travis Carlson, placing 18th with a time of 17:56.81.
Atkinson said the boys team didn’t run its best race, but nonetheless is proud of the progress the team has made with each meet.
“This was the best boys’ team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Atkinson said.
“Everyone was capable of running under 19-20 minutes this year. That’s a really big accomplishment for us. (American Christian) had a very strong meet. Twenty-four points is unheard of. They’re just really talented right now.”
Other run times for the boys’ team were:
• Tailand Mitchell, 31st, with a time of 18:29.79;
• Micah Flores, 47th, with a time of 19:00.61;
• Tucker McDaniel, 51th, with at time of 19:07.65;
• Jordan Delawerence, 62nd, with a time of 19:31.29;
• Rider Jernigan, 65th, with at time of 19:39.71;
• Tanner McDaniel, 68th, with at time of 19:44.58;
• Joe Luttrell, 117th, with a time of 21:19.08;
• Gavin McNeil, 130th, with a time of 22:38.49; and,
• Brandon Coleman, 135th, with a time of 23:33.02.