XC: Devils End Season with Strong Finish

By Gary Marsh, Head Coach

Tuesday October 27th, the White House Cross Country Team concluded their 2020-21 season at the Region 5 Large School qualifying race for the state meet.

To qualify for the state meet for the TSSAA, runners have to make the top 10 out of the entire class of competition for both girls and boys. Ten runners from each group are selected for a state berth. The top three overall teams advance as well.

The girls and boys team fought very hard in an extremely difficult division falling short of their goal. The girls team placed 8th, with Kerra Marsh leading the charge with her best performance to date at Sanders Ferry Park. She finished in 17th place with a time of 22:08, just 25 seconds out of a top 10 finish which would have been a state meet qualification. The path to a state berth is very difficult with such a large field.

There were two other PRs on the girls team, Ellie Essary finished with a 26:02 and Bri Cooper finished with a 41:01. Bri had never participated in a sport before when she joined our team back in August. She started the year off with a 52:09 and has worked extremely hard getting better every week. She knocked over 11 minutes off her time in just a few months. We had a great showing of teamwork rallying behind her encouraging her through a tough course. 

The boys team finished 13th led by Cason Cooper with an 18:04, not his best performance on this course, but a courageous one. He went out hard with some steep competition in the first mile that really made for a difficult rest of the race. 

Aiden Britt of Lebanon High School is a State Champion favorite, won the race with a time of 15:40 which is an average of a 5:03 per mile. This set the tone for the boys race and really bled out the competition. The boys team also had a set back this week with Cooper Brinn going down, who is our number 2 runner on the team. This was an opportunity for our other runners to step up and that they did. Chase Singleton stepped up with a time of 19:44, which was the best time on the course ever. This was also a full minute better than last year at this same race.

Freshman Logan Chudzik also PR’d with a time of 21:13, almost a full three minutes better than his first race of the year. Logan started running with us at the beginning of the school year. I can’t imagine how well he will do next year when he has a full summer of training. Femi Richards and Haden Cooper also got their best time ever on this course, with Femi notching a PR. 

We had 3 seniors on the team run their last XC race with White House, Cason Cooper, Caitlin Hicks, and Femi Richards.

Now that the season has come to close, I am very happy with the progress our program has made. Our boys and girls team have improved year over year, and we will continue that trend next year.

While we haven’t come away with much team hardware, we are very close to knocking the lid off this endeavor. We will see new school divisions next year that should level the playing field across the state.

Our teams are encouraged to continue running in the offseason, to take a two week break, but then to get back out on the greenway and continue putting in the work. Distance running is cumulative and requires year round training. So while the season may be over the work never ends. Our runners are also encouraged to do other sports, cross train, winter track, and spring track. This all helps build their speed, strength, and endurance to better prepare them for the next season. We will be looking for new runners in late spring to train over the summer with hopes of reaching our goal of the state championships. We will be looking for athletes that love running, love competition, and doing hard work in a family fun atmosphere. We hope to see you on the trails, greenway, or a local race. 

Below are photos from the event as well as a chart showing runner progress for the entire season.

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