With a one-two punch in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, a second-place finish in the mile and two scoring finishes in the two-mile, Science Hill’s boys track team finished a strong second in the Tri-Cities Track Classic Friday and Saturday at Johnson City’s Kermit Tipton Stadium.
Science Hill, which also scored well in the relay events, had 80 points to first-place Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) High’s 138 in the 31-team meet. Individual wins came from junior Alex Crigger in the 2,000-meter steeplechase and Nate Jackson in the high jump, while the shuttle hurdle relay team also captured a win. Daniel Boone finished eighth with 31 points, with most of its points coming from distance runners as well.
Science Hill’s girls, who got a win in the mile from 2015 state runner up Halle Hausman, finished seventh with 40.5 points. Hausman emerged from a tight lead pack of four runners in the strong headwinds of the home stretch, to best King’s Academy’s Niamh Schumacher by more than a second, in 5:17.85.
“We know where it’s going to hit us because we train here,” Science Hill Head Coach Jennifer Brockett said of the wind, which played a factor in many events. “We know coming out of that turn where we need to be and what we need to do.”
Brockett was pleased overall, saying a few adjustments were in order.
“We’re young on the girls’ side, with just four or five seniors, and we need to work on technique issues like handoffs during the relays,” Brockett said. “With the boys, we need a little more depth with the field events.”
Crigger won Friday’s steeplechase in a national-qualifying and meet record 6:12. The entertaining race featured several lead changes between elite area runners during its five laps. Teammate Noah Charles, a senior, led early on his way to second in 6:18.19. Running his first steeplechase, Boone senior Josh Routh took the lead on the fourth lap before finishing third in 6:25.18, and Boone senior Mitch Bronstetter was fifth in 6:32.25.
Crigger also finished runner-up in Saturday’s mile and sixth in Friday’s two-mile, where Science Hill’s Malick Gemechu was third.
The ‘Toppers got second-place finishes in the 4×800 relay (Harrison Barrett, Gemechu, Alex Grajeda and Thomas Seeley in 8:30.74) and the 4×400 relay (Charles, Jackson, Tate Overbay and Bryn Cowart).
On the girls’ side, in addition to Hausman, Science Hill got fourth-place finishes in both the 4×200 and 4×400 relays, and a fifth in the 4×800. The team was third in the shuttle hurdle relay, and Annika Burley was sixth in the triple jump.
Daniel Boone’s boys got most of their scoring (26 points) from distance runners as well. In addition to Routh and Bronstetter in the steeplechase, junior Ben Varghese was third in the mile and Bronstetter was fifth. Varghese also staked Boone to a big lead in his first (1,200-meter) leg of the distance medley relay. Boone held on for third in that race.