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Coach: Runners ‘gave great effort’ at first meet

By Keeli Parkey

The first meet of the season was a successful one for the Unicoi County Middle School cross country teams. The Jr. Blue Devils and Jr. Lady Devils raced in the Terry Hull Crawford Cross Country Classic in Greeneville on Thursday, Aug. 31.

“This is a 2-mile course and the runners worked hard and gave great effort,” head coach Lydia Hilliard told The Erwin Record.

Jr. Lady Devil Marissa Soulier stood out in the first competition of her eighth grade season – finishing in sixth place out of a field of 155 runners to receive a medal in the girls competition. Soulier finished the race with a time of 14:26, according to Hilliard.

“Marissa had an excellent run,” Hilliard said.

Other results for the Jr. Lady Devils included: Isabella Howard with a time of 19:26; Katlyn Nelson in 19:32; Jimena Rodriguez-Avila in 19:54; Betsabe Chavez in 21:01; Cora Hartley in 21:03; Candace Tolley in 21:03; and Paola Ramirez in 23:04.

Eleven girls teams participated in the race. The Jr. Lady Devils posted a team score of 208.

A new face led the way for the Jr. Blue Devils. Hilliard said seventh grader Tristan Duncan led the Jr. Blue Devils with a time of 15:29, which put him in 52nd place out of 228 runners.

Other results for the Jr. Blue Devils included: Aidan O’Hare with a time of 16:12; Christopher Chavez in 16:18; Will Byrd in 16:18; Canaan Webb in 17:05; Kade Lemmon in 17:13; Eli Riddell in 17:40; Branson Peterson in 18:13; Mason Hensley in 18:39; Damian Crawford in 19:15; John Bush in 20:14; Eli Bratton in 21:28; Johnny Tipton in 22:06; and Alex White in 24:46.

The UCMS cross country teams will compete on Thursday, Sept. 7, in the Warriors Invitational at Warrior’s Path State Park. The Jr. Lady Devils will begin their race at 4:30 p.m., with the Jr. Blue Devils running at 5 p.m.

“I am looking forward to our next meet,” Hilliard said.