By Steve Williams
Hardin Valley Academy’s battle cry in last week’s Knoxville Interscholastic League track and field meet could have been “Going the Distance.”
When the dust left behind by their strong distance runners had settled, HVA’s boys and girls teams could be seen celebrating KIL championships on the Hardin Valley track infield.
Aaron Templeton, called a “machine” by one veteran KIL track observer, led the way as Hardin Valley’s boys joined its girls in this year’s title celebration. The junior standout, who won the TSSAA Class AAA state cross-country crown last fall, took first place in the Tony Cosey 1600-meter run and 3200 and was second in the 800.
Emma Mashburn missed by one-tenth of a second of being a triple winner as the junior was runner-up in the 800 after racking up victories in the 3200 and 1600 runs.
The Lady Hawks, who won the KIL meet last season on their way to the Class AAA state championship, repeated by a commanding margin, tallying 173 points. West, without talented Maya Barroso, who suffered a season-ending knee injury competing in the pentathlon state sectionals April 22, finished a distant second with 100 points. Farragut (87), Austin-East (69) and Christian Academy of Knoxville (51) rounded out the top five.
Hardin Valley’s boys didn’t have it so easy but pulled away from defending champion Bearden 128-119. West was third with 96 points, followed by Karns (73) and Farragut (54).
“West being without Barroso probably cost them 40 points,” said HVA Coach Bryan Brown. “In the boys’ meet, things had to go just right when it’s this close. The sixth places and seventh places also count heavily at the end of the day.”
The Hawks netted 102 points from their first, second and third place finishes. They couldn’t have come out on top in the team scoring without the 26 points they collected from their fourth place finishes and below.
Templeton, after setting a PR time of 4:16.28 in the 1600 and with the 800 still to be run, pointed out, “Hardin Valley has never won the KIL boys team title. I want to win as many events and get as many points on the board as I can.”
Templeton had coasted to a winning time of 9:45.11 in the 3200 on the opening night of the two-day meet. In comparison, when he ran the 2-mile event in March at the indoor nationals in New York City, he placed third with a PR 8:58 conversion time.
Junior teammate Lachlan Dickie contributed 14 points to the HVA total by placing second in the 3200 and third in the 1600. The Hawks’ strength in the distance events also include a victory in the 4×800 relay (8:17.33).
Mashburn and senior teammate Hannah Feiten ran 1-2 in both the 3200 and 1600, with Mashburn clocked in 11:16.33 and 5:08.69, respectively. Her bid for a third win was denied by CAK’s Sarah Zimmer, who won the 800 in 2:21.10.
Hardin Valley’s girls also got a first place showing in the discus throw (117 feet, 10 inches) from sophomore Tamia Crockett
“It’s awesome to know all our hard work has paid off,” said Feiten, “and it’s exciting to think of the rest of the season ahead. Our goal is to go back and be the best in state again.
“The top four is real close. If we have a good day, we should be right in it.”
Last season, sprinter Emily Yarnell, who signed with UT, helped give the Lady Hawks a one-point margin (60-59) over Tennessee High of Bristol in the battle for the state title.
Christian Robinson, Bearden senior, was the lone three-event winner in the KIL meet, prevailing in the triple jump (43-3), 110 hurdles (14.87) and 300 hurdles (39.15).
West senior Lionel Morris swept the Sam Anderson 100-meter dash (10.85) and Jim Haslam 200 dash (21.98). A freshman, Halls’ Cole Patterson was a double winner in the shot put (47-09.75) and discus throw (140-06).
Other boys individual winners included Cody Graves of Karns in the 400 (49.64), Chase Hilton of Bearden in the 800 (1:58.37), Brady Smith of Bearden in the high jump (6-2), Hank Mary of West in the pole vault (13-0) and Dallas Marable of Farragut in the long jump (20-11.25).
West boys took first place in the 4×100 relay (42.83) and 4×200 relay (1:29.54), while the Hardin Valley boys clinched “the sweep” by winning the meet’s last event – the 4×400 relay (3:28.58).
A-E’s Lexus Hall sped to wins in the girls’ 100 (12.73) and 200 (25.57). The Lady Roadrunners’ Carolyn Hinch showed her versatility by winning the 400 (57.96) and long jump (16-06.75). Kelsey DeLapp of Gibbs also was a double winner in the pole vault (10-0) and triple jump (34-11.50).
Other girls individual winners included Shantyra Delaney of West in the 100 hurdles (14.73), Kathryn Pickle of West in the 300 hurdles (46.76), Laura Morse of CAK in the high jump (4-10) and Shenora Rogers of Austin-East in the shot put (39-10.25).
Girls relay winners were West (49.47 in 4×100), Hardin Valley (1:46.27 in 4×200), CAK (4:07.64 in 4×400) and Farragut (10:04.33 in 4×800).
Coming up this Saturday, May 11, will be the Class AAA State Sectional meet at Hardin Valley Academy. The top four finishers in each event will qualify for the TSSAA state meet.
Class A-AA schools’ Sub Sectional will be today, May 6, at CAK, with the top four finishers in each event advancing to the State Sectional Tuesday, May 14, at CAK.