Competing on the track named after former legendary coaches Crowe and Coughenour, the Indians and Lady Indians swept to the team titles and took three of the four top individual awards on the day.
The event featured the 1,500-meter steeplechase, which made its way back to the meet after several years’ absence.
Dobyns-Bennett’s Hannah Sokol and Science Hill’s Alex Crigger ran, jumped, hurdled and splashed their way to victories in the fan-favorite event.
“I’m pretty lucky to run the steeplechase even once a year,” Sokol said. “It’s my favorite event because instead of it being so many laps to go, it’s how many barriers to go.”
View the photo gallery from the meet
Sokol crossed in 6:00.10 for the easy win. She said the biggest fear isn’t stamina or being passed, but the next barrier.
“You practice your jumping and hurdling more and your form more so you are efficient on the water jump,” noted Sokol, who may have emerged from the drink more soaked than desired.
“Your goal is to put your foot on the barrier and leap without touching the water, land on one foot and keep running,” she added. “I didn’t exactly master that as I had hoped or had in the past.”
Sokol’s win jump-started the Lady Indians to their 112-77 win over second-place Morristown West.
Key for the Lady Indians was a sweep of all five relay events produced by 13 runners — all of whom shared the Most Outstanding Female Runner award. Kelsey Bailey and Britney Griffith were part of three relay wins, both running legs on the 4x200 and 4x400 winning teams. Griffith also ran on the 4x100 team and Bailey on the distance medley relay.
“I really love running the DMR and I love this meet, it’s always so fun,” said Bailey, who teamed with Sasha Neglia, Gracie Allen and Sophia Neglia on the win. “Sasha gave us a huge lead and I felt like we ran a good race even though the wind was kind of bad.”
Bailey, a senior, has been the mainstay on the squad since the early days of practice before Griffith and Sydney Breeding were available out of winter sports.
“It’s cool when you see kids like Kelsey evolve,” said D-B coach Bob Bingham. “She has always worked hard and she’s showed great leadership setting the tone until the basketball girls got here.”
Breeding, Kiley Wood and reigning state cross country champion Sasha Neglia were part of two relay wins on the day for the Lady Indians.
Other girls winners were defending state runner-up Addyson Rowe of David Crockett in the high jump (5-5) and the Lady Pioneers’ Breanna Roy in the 1,600 meters (5:34.97). Volunteer’s Morgan Salyers won the triple jump (32-10) and Cherokee’s Brittany Nielsen was tops in the shot put (30-1).
Marion’s Callee Cox was named Most Outstanding Female in field events after winning the long jump (16-3) and finishing second in the triple jump (32-9½) and the high jump (5-0).
On the boys’ side, the Indians outdistanced Daniel Boone 158-77 with state 400-meter champion and Nebraska signee Bryce Barrett part of three meet wins. Barrett posted the second-fastest time of his high school career to win the 100 meters (11.01) and anchored Tribe relay wins in the 4x100 (44.02) and 4x400 (3:33.19).
Barrett was named Most Outstanding Male Runner.
“It’s always nice to come out and have a good showing at this meet because it honors our two legendary coaches and we want to put on a good show for Kingsport and keep the tradition going,” said Barrett, who joined Dee Williams, Reese Cornett and Jeamy Williams in the 4x100 and Williams, Williams and Jordan Murray in the 4x400.
“Bryce does a great job of setting the tone for this team,” Bingham noted. “He learned how to work hard from some of the guys he ran with when he was younger, and now he’s passing that along.”
With wins in the high jump (6-2) and triple jump (40-3), the Tribe’s Tanner Henry was named Most Outstanding Male in field events.
“I just ran out there hoping to get 6 feet easy and came out 6-2,” Henry said. “I didn’t really expect that, so it was very exciting.”
Henry’s triple jump was his first in competition.
“That’s the first time Tanner’s triple-jumped,” Bingham noted. “We worked a little on simple drill work, but other than that not much. Tanner is a lot better athlete than people think he is and he works hard and is pretty fearless.”
The Indians also got a win from Jacob Bee in the discus (132-02) ahead of newcomer Ben Osborne in second (122-01).
Among the other individual boys winners were Sullivan South’s Ethan Ward in the 110 hurdles (15.93) and Daniel Boone’s Joe Jones in the 300 hurdles (42.41).
Paced by recent 5,000-meter indoor national champion Ben Varghese, Boone’s Zac Branham, Matt Huff, Caleb Sells and Varghese raced to relay victories in the 4x800 (8:29.29) and the DMR (11:23.71). Science Hill’s team of Caleb Duncan, Trey Garland, Will Mooney and Tate Overbay won the 4x200 (1:34.88).
Barbara Coughenour, wife of the late Tom Coughenour, was on hand to present the individual awards and to greet D-B legends Jim Ailshie and Jeremy Graves, who also were honored at the meet.
“To see those guys and their families back at Dobyns-Bennett, with their kids or their parents or, in Jim’s case, his 103-year-old grandmother, is pretty neat,” Bingham said.
Graves won three individual titles at the 1998 state championships: the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump. Ailshie also was a three-time individual state champion, winning the mile in 1980 and the 800 and 1,600 in 1981. Ailshie is now in his first year coaching track at Volunteer High School.