Bradley's Smith, Signal's Young Win Prep Cross Country Races

Heritage Girls Nip GPS While Baylor Boys Beat Coahulla Creek, McCallie

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - by John Hunt

Chances are good that temperatures and humidity levels will drop one day soon and that the hundreds of participants in the Chattanooga Cross Country League will have a decent day on which to run.

However, it wasn't Tuesday at Camp Jordan.

It was hot and humid -- should we be expecting anything less for Chattanooga in mid-September? -- which slowed the times significantly, but the front runners braved the difficult conditions and ran strong from start to finish.

Bradley senior Harold Smith has been on a roll all fall and that continued as he won the boys race in 16 minutes, 38 seconds.

  It was his third straight win since the season began, including two league races and the PowerAde Invitational at Moccasin Bend on Saturday.

Ooltewah's Garret Flores and Baylor's John Carlson followed Smith with times of 17:25 and 17:29 while Judd Bates of Heritage and Jackson Goodwin of Baylor completed the top five with times of 17:37 and 17:51, respectively.

The Baylor boys were the team winner with 40 points, followed by Coahulla Creek with 132 and McCallie with 133.

Signal Mountain's Mallory Young was running with Karla Vradenburgh of the Chattanooga Patriots for the first half of the race, but the Signal Mountain junior picked up the pace and left Vradenburgh to fend for herself as Young won with a time of 20 minutes, 43 seconds.

Baylor's Grace Carlson, who just got released by her doctor to run on Thursday after having an inflamed joint in her second toe, was third in the beginning, but moved up to finish second in 21:11. 

Vradenburgh was third in 21:25 while Sarah Buckler of Heritage and Lucy Whitfield of GPS were fourth and fifth with times of 21:29 and 21:30, respectively.

Heritage claimed the girls team win with 65 points as they nipped runner-up GPS by two points.  Signal Mountain was third with 74.

"Running in the heat wasn't fun, but I just wanted to have a good time and not pass out," Young said within minutes of posting her first win of the young season.

"Our team was running more for place than for time and the goal was to beat the girl in front of you.  This isn't my favorite course as I like a few hills," the 16-year-old junior nodded with a smile.

Carlson is a 15-year-old sophomore who has had two training runs since being released.  Needless to say, her expecations on Tuesday weren't very high.

"Going in, I wasn't expecting very much, but I'm really happy with how well I did," the petite red-head said in her usual quite tone.

"I didn't start out very fast, but I was feeling good in the second mile.  Mallory is an excellent runner, so there was no way I was going to catch her today.  It was a little hot out there, but what can you do?" she added.

Bradley's Smith has been on a mission thus far.  He didn't have anyone to challenge him, but he created his own challenge in the final mile.

"I'm so tired right now as I tried to catch the guy on the bike," he expressed, knowing that Jim Steffes really had to pedal his heart out in the final stretch to not get passed by the fleet-footed Smith.

"There's no shade on the back side of this course and it was really hot out there, but I improved a lot from the last race.  My goal was to just keep getting better.  I'm hoping to go out with a bang," Smith nodded.

Ooltewah's Flores had a breakthrough experience during Tuesday's race.

"I tried something different and it worked.  I went out a lot slower during the first mile, but I had a better time.  I was running with John (Carlson) and we were waiting for somebody to go in that last mile.  I'm excited to have someone like him to run with, but I was shooting for second from the start.

"It will be a race for second place all season, but I'm so excited about my new strategy.  I can't wait to try it again in the next race," he added.

Carlson had a 5K personal record by 11 seconds and he was pleased, despite finishing third.

"It wasn't as muddy as it was the last time we ran out here, but I did what I was supposed to do today.  I knew that Garret would be with me.  He took off with about 400 meters to go and I couldn't stay with him.  I guess I need to work on my finish kick a little more," he added.

Counting the junior varsity race, there were 696 partipants in the three races and 80 teams that scored.

There will not be a league meet next week, although many of these teams will be at Chickamauga Dam on Sept. 21 for the annual Chattanooga Cross Country Festival.

The next league meet will be at Baylor on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)



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