By TONY STINNETT Courier Sports Editor
SMYRNA - Cannon County’s boys cross-country team has made strides throughout the season and they are running their best at the most important time of the season.
On the heels of the most important meet of the season, the Lions won the silver division of the Sharp Springs Invitational in Smyrna last week.
Cannon County’s boys and girls will compete in the Region 4-A/AA Championships this week in Dayton with a berth in the TSSAA State Championship on the line.
The boys advanced to the state tournament in 2012 - the program’s second year of existence and at least one girl has reached state in each of the last two seasons.
“The boys and girls have trained hard and sacrificed to put themselves in position to have a chance,” Cannon County Head Cross Country Coach Marc Larson said. “We have posted some of our best times in recent meets.”
Marshall McReynolds and Jordan Turney posted their best times of the season to lead the Lions to the Sharp Springs Championship.
McReynolds finished second overall out of 200 runners in the field. He ran a 17:02.01. Turney was fifth overall with a 17:13.88. Both standouts earned medals for their performances.
Cannon County finished first in the 5,000-meter run out of 27 teams participating. Their team total of 162 points easily outdistanced second-place Shelbyville (196) and third-place Summit (198).
McReynolds and Turney have been a strong one-two combination for the Lions all season; however, no team wins championships without quality depth and Cannon County boasts several competitive runners.
Jake Burdick finished third amongst the Lions and 34th overall with a 18:42.24, followed by freshman Devin Gilpatrick (42nd, 18:59.64), Umar Rasul (60th, 19:40.44), John Frazier (61st, 19:40.62), and Briar Jakes (19:47.49).
The Lionettes found themselves in a different situation at Sharp Springs. Because of their 10th place finish at the Voyles Classic earlier this season, Cannon County was forced to compete in the Gold division.
They finished 13th out of 18 teams in the highest level of the competition in Smyrna.
Hannah Whited led the Lionettes with a 27th-place finish out of 134 participants. She ran a 20:20.19 and earned a trophy for her performance.
Elva Magana finished 43rd overall with a 21:28.93, followed by Hannah Faulkner (80th, 23:09.05), Sarah Hickman (101st, 24:45.09), Katie Hickman (107th, 25:34.23), Autumn King (118th, 25:34.23) and Lauren Turney (123rd, 27:50.17).