By TONY STINNETT
Courier Sports Editor
If anything the first boys cross-country meet of the season indicated the race for a state berth should once again be close.
The Lions compete against Central Magnet, Merrol Hyde and Signal Mountain, among others, in the always tough Region 4-AA. Last season the Lions finished one spot out of the state with all three aforementioned teams edging them.
In Saturday’s first meet of the season the Lions finished 23rd out of 57 teams in the Voyles Classic at Sharp Springs Park in Smyrna. The Lions finished three places behind Central Magnet and two behind Merrol Hyde in the overall standings.
Marshall McReynolds led Cannon County with a 13th-place finish out of 410 runners.
McReynolds ran the 5K in 16:45.64 as the runners competed against a tough field and extreme heat.
McReynolds was the only Lion to crack the Top 20.
Devin Gilpatrick finished second on the squad and 125th overall with a time of 19:26.48 Austin Duggin performed well in his first high school match. The freshman was third on the team and 166th overall with a 20:17.15.
Cannon County most likely would have had a higher finish but senior standout Jake Burdick was sick but still competed. He turned in a 20:21.38, good for 168th overall. Burdick was followed by John Frazier (171st, 20:26.46), Sam Sissom (190th, 20:58.25) and Tristan Morten (230th, 21:46.38).
The Lionettes had a strong showing at the Voyles Classic, finishing 16th out of 44 teams.
Hannah Whited led the way for the Lionettes with a 45th-place finish out of 363 runners in the 5K event.
Whited posted a time of 22:01.4. Erin McReynolds and Elva Magana were also in the Top 100. McReynolds was second for Cannon County and 84th overall with a 23:19.64, followed by Magana at 99th with a 24:00.73.
Hannah Faulkner was 114th overall with a 24:23.94.
Cannon County boasts experience at the top of the lineup as three of the top four finishers at the Voyles have state tournament experience. Whited, Magana and Faulkner have all competed at the TSSAA event.
Kristen Hale was 127th with a 24:50.40, followed by Alyna Reed (158th, 25:49.46) and Sara Hickman (161st, 25:54.78).
Cannon County’s boys junior varsity also competed and had several individuals turn in strong performances.
Corey Seymour turned in a Top 50 finish out of the 301 competitors in the field. Seymour was 44th overall with a 20:50.73. Reece Wisdom was second for Cannon County and 57th overall with a 20:50.73.
Tyler Bailey was third for the Lions and 116th overall with a 23:33.59. All of Cannon County’s runners finished in the top half of the field. Walker Hatfield (120th, 23:51.47), Arron Smith (139th, 25:22.35), Jacob Bentley (142nd, 26:51.47) and Caleb Sissom (143rd, 27:01.92) all turned in respectable showings in their first meet.