Robinson comes back from injury to win girls’ title

Smith sets new boys’ record

By Steve Williams

Kate Robinson pulled off an upset and Keegan Smith set a new boys’ record time in the annual Knoxville Interscholastic League Cross Country Championships on the Cherokee Boulevard course Saturday morning.

Robinson, a West High senior who had a stress fracture last season, posted a time of 17:54.72 in the 5,000-meter race to finish ahead of Maddie Archdale, a Hardin Valley Academy senior and former KIL champion, who was clocked in 18:03.92.

“I’m so excited,” said Kate. “I didn’t believe it when I finished. I also was just happy to break 18 minutes. I’ve been going for that all year and I finally got it.”

Her strategy for the KIL race?

“I wanted to stay with the lead group and hang on for as long as possible,” she said. “I didn’t want to let that front group go.”

Robinson said she took the lead about a half-mile from the finish line.

“I know two years ago, my (former) coach (Marty Sonnenfeldt) told us to drop the hammer at the half-mile mark,” she recalled. “And I remembered his important advice. I just had to try it again.”

She acknowledged that winning a race like the KIL is a confidence-booster.

“I would love to be Top 15 at state,” she said. “That’s my goal. It will be a tough one. I’ll be working towards that.”

Robinson would like to run cross country in college and has been recruited “a little bit,” she said. “I’ve been talking with several coaches, but nothing close to a decision yet.”

Smith, a Knoxville Catholic junior, is now 3 for 3 in KIL wins in his prep career. His time of 14:55.98 this year broke the record (14:57.58) set by Carter Coughlin of Webb in 2017.

“I was very happy prior to the race that my calf muscle was pretty pain-free,” said Keegan, who struggled with some discomfort at the Southern Showcase in Alabama two weeks ago.

“I felt strong and was blessed to have (Farragut runners) Eckerman, Tonnos, Ebbert and my teammate Molchan pushing me. The last 400 meters I kicked it in. I’m looking forward to improving my endurance and speed over the next few weeks.”


TOP TEAMS: Webb girls took first place with 31 points, followed by Hardin Valley (47), Farragut (111), Bearden (129) and West (149). In boys’ scoring, Farragut finished in first place with 48 points, followed by Catholic (55), Hardin Valley (77), Webb (161) and West (164).