The Cannon Courier
Returning to the TSSAA State Cross Country meet at Percy Warner Park in Nashville Saturday, November 7th for only the second time in school history, the Lionettes completed a very successful season recording a 12th place finish.
Last year, CCHS finished sixth in the Class A-AA 5,000 meter race, and were hoping for more of the same in 2015. The 12th place finish, out of 24 teams in the final overall standings, was led by Hannah Whited with a 26th place finish with a final time of 21:27.64.
"I thought they did great," CCHS head coach Marc Larson said after the meet. "It was a big accomplishment, and we had a bunch of girls have their best time at this course. They all ran their best. I was really proud of them.
Whited and Elva Magana were making their third appearance at the event, while Alayna Reed made it two consecutive years. Samantha Gaither, Tyger Kennedy, Flor Magana, and Isabella Russo all made their debut at the state meet.
In 2014, Whited narrowly missed ranking in the State Top 10 with an 11th place, while Elva Magana was 68th, and Reed was 103rd.
2015 saw Elva Magana 99th (24:14.57) and Reed in 113th (24:42.65) , with the remaining first timers completing the race with Russo in 61st (22: 41.65), Samantha Gaither in 132nd (25:22.77), Kennedy in 160th (26:56.15) and Flor Magana in 165th (27:28.72).
"They settled them down by doing a shakeout run about an hour before," Larson said. "I think it gives the people who have run these races a chance to check in with the girls and tell them a little bit more about this race. I think they were all in pretty good shape to run, and the people who ran before did a good job of getting them ready."
However, each of the members of the 2015 team had already raced the Steeplechase course during the season on October 8th in the Brentwood Invitational. At that meet, the Lionettes completed the race in third overall with Whited leading the way with a ninth place finish, while Russo also finished in the Top 20 in 17th.
A month later, with the state title on the line, the competition was tougher, but CCHS only competed against Class A-AA squads this time. The weather was perfect for running with temperatures in the cool 60s with cloudy skies and shower. The course was sloppy resulting in slowing their times from when last they ran. This course is known for its slow, rolling hills.
The TSSAA Cross Country state meet has been held for the females since 1975.