Marissa Soulier received a medal for her fifth-place finish in the Terry Hull Crawford Classic last week. (Contributed photo)

By Keeli Parkey

The first two races of the season for the Unicoi County High School cross country teams took place under very different conditions.

The runners opened the season on Aug. 25 in Bristol, Tennessee, on an uncharacteristically chilly morning.

“We kicked the season off with Run for the Hills at the South Holston Dam,” head coach Thad Higgins said. “It was an excellent cool morning for a first race. We had a very successful race with some fast times and even a top finisher.”

The Soulier siblings were the top finishers for both the Blue Devils and Lady Devils. Sister Marissa came in ninth place overall with a time of 21:42, while brother Darren finished with a time of 20:36.

The second meet of the season was held on Thursday, Aug. 30, in Greeneville.

“In contrast to Run for the Hills, the Terry Hull Crawford Classic was a hot evening race,” Higgins said. “In spite of this, our team ran very well and had great improvement in the areas we had been working on since our first race. The first race gave us an idea of where we needed to set pacing goals throughout the race, and I was really proud of how diligent our athletes were about hitting those goals throughout the race.”

Marissa again led the Lady Devils, finishing in fifth place overall with a time of 22:27, and earning a medal for her performance, according to Higgins.

Cheyenne Wilson also ran a good race, finishing in 15th place overall with a time of 24:37.

Darren led the Blue Devils with his 19th place finish and time of 21:01. John Campbell ran a time of 21:59 and Wyatt Miller ran a time of 24:45.

“We would also like to congratulate Wyatt Miller on completing his first high school cross country race,” Higgins said. “We can’t wait to see what else he’s got in store this season.”

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The UCHS runners will have a few weeks of practice time before their next meet, which is scheduled for Sept. 13 at Sullivan North High School. They are also scheduled to run at Fender’s Farm on Sept. 15.