By TONY STINNETT
County’s boys cross-country team finished 16th at the TSSAA Class A/AA State Championships here Saturday.
Freshman Elva Magana competed individually in the girls state championship. She finished 54th out of 183 competitors.
More important than their respective finishes is the fact Cannon County was there amongst the best in the state. It marked the second straight year Cannon County had a female competitor in the Class A/AA girls state meet. Hannah Faulkner, who battled injury all season, made the field as a freshman in 2011.
All Cannon County runners who participate in the cross-country program deserve a tremendous congratulations. They are driven competitors who have demonstrated an ability to put team before self.
Much respect goes to the entire boys team. The unit, as a whole, did not have the breakout season it hoped for in 2011. Many times the girls team contended for, or won, meet titles.
Individuals had their moments for the boys but it was clear more would have to be invested if the team would succeed as a whole. During the offseason numbers increased, commitment appeared to be more important and training became basically a daily routine.
Results were evident this year. They invested in the program and realized great returns. Cannon County’s boys reached the state tournament in year two. What an accomplishment!!! Having an individual or two would have been equally impressive but getting the entire team to the state tournament is an entirely different story.
For starters, not too many male teams have reached the state tournament at Cannon County. The 1985 boys basketball team is one of the last to do it so cross-country is in elite company at CCHS.
Having the team advance also also demonstrates quality depth within the program. One or two outstanding runners can advance because of God-given individual talent and work ethic. A team doesn’t advance with players working together and for one another. That is why my respect is so very high for Jordan Turney, Marshall McReynolds, Jake Burdick, Clay Luker, T.J. Paul, Will Bailey and Devin Burgess - as far as the seven who were able to represent CCHS at the state level. There were more guys. The ones who pushed their teammates and were just as determined and committed; however, only seven get to participate at the state level.
Cannon County finished 16th out of the 24 teams there. Quite an achievement for a team that didn’t have a program less than 20 months ago.
Marshall McReynolds led the team, finishing 41st overall with a time of 18:49.97 on the 5K course. That’s 41st out of 189 competitors. Pretty strong considering McReynolds missed two-thirds of the season with chin splint injuries.
Turney was 71st with a 19:23, followed by Burdick (76, 19:29.54), Luker (124, 20:53), Paul (125, 20:54), Bailey (177, 23:15) and Burgess (179, 23:15).
They will always be the first boys cross-country team from CCHS to reach state.
The girls were just one spot from advancing as a team as well. It marks the second straight year the ladies have come within one spot of advancing.
Next year will be another great one for the boys and girls cross country programs at CCHS.
The young men and women who participate will make sure of it.
(Tony Stinnett is a three-time Tennessee Sports Writer of the Year and serves as sports editor for The Cannon Courier. For story ideas, announcements or updates, e-mail at Stinnett at email@example.com)