The boys had seven runners make all conference, with six of the scores being a deciding factor in the team results. Science Hill had a 1-2-3 finish led by individual champion Jeb Jones, but the Trailblazers rallied to tie 35-35 in the team standings. Boone won on a tiebreaker, thanks to a 14th place finish by its No. 6 runner, Graydon Hull.
“Our boys, we were without our top boy, and we knew it was going to be a battle,” Boone coach Len Jeffers said. “It was great to come out with the tiebreaker and the girls ran phenomenal. We were able to finish as a group, very unified and it was just a great day.”
That great day included Boone also sweeping the boys’ and girls’ junior varsity races.
Boone had five girls in the top 15 to beat Dobyns-Bennett 43-47 in the team standings. However, the Lady Indians’ Sasha Neglia set a course record with a run of 17:59.
Jones ran a 16:38 and beat Aaron Jones by just one second to take individual honors on the boys’ side. Ray Richardson finished third for the Hilltoppers with a run of 16:52.
“Definitely going into the race, we had a lot of confidence,” Jeb Jones said. “We had a focus on pack running and knew that solid front pack could help bring up the guys. On our long runs, we’re together like we were that race. We will steadily speed up the pace, but Aaron made me try the whole time.”
Boone won the battle with Max Austin, Conner Wingfield, Matt Huff and Mason Lewis finishing in the fourth through seventh spots. Evan Bruce gave the ’Blazers a fifth score, while Hull and Jameson Cline also finished in the top 15 to earn all-conference honors.
Science Hill’s Jonah Harris, who was all-conference in 12th, and Caleb Lee in 17th rounded out the Hilltoppers’ team score.
“I’m proud of the boys. They’ve been working hard all season,” Science Hill coach Nathan Meeuwenberg said. “They never doubted in the process and our locker room has been tight. It has been really fun.”
David Crockett finished third with 72 points. Hank Lowe, Bryson Livesay and Cameron Butler all earned all-conference for the Pioneers, who also counted scores from Brandon Devore and Grayson Fugate.
D-B finished fourth with 91 points. The Tribe’s Tyler Mays was the only runner not from a Washington County school to earn all-conference with an 11th-place effort.
Neglia dominated the race, winning by 1:21 over Taylor Roy of David Crockett. Still, she wasn’t pushing herself to the absolute limit with the Region 1-AAA championships coming up next week.
“It’s conference, but it’s still a small meet,” Neglia said. “I tried not to get too nervous and have the mindset of a workout. I just focused on my own race. Usually this course is pretty tough, but this is the best I’ve felt on this course.”
Boone captured the overall title with Judy Chellah and her sister, Patricia, the top finishers in sixth and seventh places. Erin Bruce came in ninth with Gracie Murray in 11th and Marley McCoy in 15th, giving the Lady ’Blazers the overall victory.
Emma Russum added a third-place run for D-B at 19:37, while Gracie Allen and Megan Cordell also were all-conference in 13th and 14th respectively.
“Sasha is Sasha and it’s the first time a girl has ever broken 18 (minutes) here,” D-B coach Bob Bingham said. “Her situation, we just wanted to make sure we got a good workout in. Emma is running really well, and Gracie Allen has been consistent for us. Some of the others are getting there.”
Other all-conference runners were Rachel Dulaney of David Crockett in fourth, Lauren Pilkton of Elizabethton in fifth, and three from Science Hill: Abbi Roundtree in eighth, Ashley Doyle in 10th and Destiny Haller in 14th.