Local runners ready for state
by SARALYN NORKUS Banner Sports Writer
Nov 01, 2013 | 955 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local runners ready for state
BRADLEY CENTRAL CROSS COUNTRY runners Collin Gwaltney (left) and Harold Smith (right) will represent the Bears at the TSSAA state cross country meet Saturday. 
Banner photo, SARALYN NORKUS
view slideshow (2 images)
On Saturday, both Polk County and Bradley Central will be represented at the TSSAA state cross country meets at Percy Warner Park’s Steeplechase course in Nashville.

Polk County did well at the Region 3 A-AA championships, with the girls team finishing first overall and four runners qualifying for the individual state competition.

“We had a good year, one of the better years we’ve had in a while, being able to win region. We just had a good hardworking group of girls who did everything I asked them to do, never complained and went out and ran the best that they could,” Polk cross country coach Travis Carroll said. “The last time we won the region was in 2010. We had been to state before but that was the first time a team from our school had won the region championship.”

Junior Justin Schoelzel was the lone Wildcat to qualify for boys’ individual competition, with his sixth place regional finish. Schoelzel’s time of 18:28.77 also set a new personal best for the junior runner.

“We set a goal for Justin, who got a PR of 18:28 at region. We would like for him to get another PR or be around 18 and a half mark at state. His goal is to be in the top 50,” Carroll commented.

For the Polk County girls, sophomore Shelby Moyers, senior Amber Moyers and sophomore Hannah Withrow finished fourth, seventh and 10th respectively at the region meet earning themselves individual spots in Nashville.

“This is the first time ever we’ve had three girls be in the top 10 in the region, which is considered all region, here at Polk County,” Carroll stated.

Shelby Moyers has a personal best time of 22:17.27, while Amber Moyers’ personal best is 23:07.30.

Withrow’s personal best is 22:48.71

With their first place team finish, the Lady Wildcats will also have senior Serena Tolar, junior Eryca Cross, sophomore Autymn Dalton competing Saturday.

“We’re looking to perform better than we did last year over at state, I believe we finished 20th last year. I think we’ve got a better group of girls who are mentally tougher and should do fairly well,” Carroll declared.

Cross finished 17th at regions, with Dalton coming in 31st and Tolar finishing 40th.

Cross has a personal best time of 25:04.27, Dalton’s personal best is 26:45.10 and Tolar’s personal best time is 26:45.50.

The Class A-AA girls 5,000 meter race will begin at 2:40, with the Class A-AA boys beginning at 3:20.

“We’re feeling pretty confident about it, but if you look around at the other regions this year the competition is pretty tough. I think they’ll step up, represent our school well and do the best that they can,” Carrol said.

Repeat Region 3-AAA champion Harold Smith and teammate Collin Gwaltney will represent Bradley Central in individual state competition.

Smith, who has a personal best time of 15:56.28, claimed his first place regional finish with a time of 16:34.71.

Smith has competed at the state level his entire time at Bradley.

In his freshman season, Smith finished 51st and made some major moves in his sophomore season with a 19th place finish.

Last year, Smith finished 14th with a time of 16:47.27.

Gwaltney, who’s personal best is 17:26.17, finished ninth in Region 3-AAA competition with a time of 17:54.22.

The last time a Bradley Central runner made any sort of showing in state competition was in 1997, when Ryan McDermott finished as the individual runner up with his time of 15:46.