By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Cannon County standout Marshall McReynolds is headed back to the state tournament.
Teammate Jake Burdick will join him there as a first-time competitor in the event after each turned in Top 10 finishes at the Region 4-A/AA meet Thursday (Oct. 23) to earn spots as individuals in the TSSAA Class A/AA State Tourney Saturday in Nashville.
Cannon County's boys team finished fifth overall. The top three teams advance to the state tournament. The Lions were just 14 points from advancing as a team.
Central Magnet won the meet with 62 points, followed by Chattanooga Christian (64), Merrol Hyde (78), Signal Mountain (86) and Cannon County (92).
To give an idea of the level of difficulty in Region 4-A/AA, Cannon County's score would have been good for third in the Region 3-AAA event.
"It's a tough, tough region," Cannon County Head Coach Marc Larson said. "That makes for good competition. Our young men had a strong showing. I'm proud of their effort and especially proud of (McReynolds and Burdick) for getting to state."
McReynolds finished second overall with a time of 17:17.46 in the 5,000-meter event. Burdick was ninth with a time of 18:24.60.
Cannon County had five runners finish in the top 30 out of 90 runners.
That consistency enabled the Lions to enjoy a strong campaign in 2014 as the veteran unit's leadership proved crucial for a team with several youngsters in the starting lineup. Devin Gilpatrick, Corey Seymour and Austin Duggin have counted in the team's scoring all season. Gilpatrick is a sophomore and Duggin and Seymour are freshmen.
Gilpatrick was 22nd with a time of 18:50.34, followed by Seymour in 29th with a time of 19:29.54.
Duggin was 30th overall with a time of 19:30.47. Tristan Morten was 42nd and Sam Sissom was 44th.
Cannon also participated in the junior varsity meet.
John Frazier led the Lions with a 17th place finish, followed by Reece Wisdom (49th, 22:19.71), Tyler Bailey (51st, 22:41.26), Aaron Smith (55th, 23:05.72), Jacob Bentley (57th, 23:16.85), Caleb Sissom (66th, 26:28.49) and Michael Higdon (69th, 27:42.46). Laura Nichols participated