Stalnecker finishes third, Baxter leads Rockets at state meet

Anthony S. Puca Sports Editor
Posted 11/10/20

The 2020 TSSAA State Cross Country Championship at Sanders Ferry Park in Hendersonville on Thursday capped off a great season for the Forrest Cross Country program as the girls finished in 10th place and the boys came in 17th.

“One of the kids said this is the biggest event I’ve ever been in my life,” Forrest coach Josh Webb said. “And it is, to be in the state championship is an honor no matter what sport it is, especially cross country because you are not only competing individually, you are competing as a team.”

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Stalnecker finishes third, Baxter leads Rockets at state meet

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The 2020 TSSAA State Cross Country Championship at Sanders Ferry Park in Hendersonville on Thursday capped off a great season for the Forrest Cross Country program as the girls finished in 10th place and the boys came in 17th.

“One of the kids said this is the biggest event I’ve ever been in my life,” Forrest coach Josh Webb said. “And it is, to be in the state championship is an honor no matter what sport it is, especially cross country because you are not only competing individually, you are competing as a team.”

“In other sports you got referees and other things that can go against you at times, but in cross country it’s you, it’s all on you, so this type of venue is excellent for the high school student athlete.”

The top three girls finishers were dominated by the sophomore class as Fairview’s Alyssa Andrea won for the second year in a row, Signal Mountain’s Kelsey Thompson finished second, and Forrest’s Jaedyn Stalnecker came across the finish line in third place.

Stalnecker improved one spot from last year’s fourth place finish while Thompson moved up six spots from eighth place.

Andrea came close to breaking the 20-minute mark with a time of 20:04.62, Thompson ran a 20:14.71, and Stalnecker was just under 19 seconds behind Andrea.

“Jaedyn and Alyssa were both really going fast today, they passed each other a few times and I know both of them were where they wanted to be at,” Webb said. “Jaedyn finished great, at the three mile mark she really turned it on and she pushed and saved several seconds off right there, so if we can all finish like that we are doing great.”

“We got two more years to get her a second or a first and if we keep knocking those off hopefully we can get two firsts, but a second and a first would be good too.”

Stalnecker and Andrea finished one and two respectively the last two years in the region championships and they battled closely again on Thursday until Andrea made a big push at the end to increase the margin of her victory.

“We kind of went back and forth throughout the race until that last stretch,” Stalnecker said. “I’m never going to be satisfied, but it’s an improvement so it’s good.”

It was the first time the cross country state championships were held at the Hendersonville course after running at Percy Warner Park for over 40 years.

“It is terribly difficult running a course for the first time,” Webb said. “It’s one of those times where you don’t know where the turns and everything are, but we walked the course beforehand and I think they had a good game plan to start out with.”

Forrest runners junior Justina Mosley finished 30th, sophomore Micah Reasonover 90th, junior Marysa Edde finished 93rd, sophomore Amber Sanchez 127th, and seniors Hannah Villazon crossed the finish line in 150th place and Saryna Kurtz was four places behind Villazon.

“The girls pushed it, I think everybody hit their goal times and if not, they got pretty close,” Webb said.

In the 5000 meters boys’ race, Camden sophomore Will Douglas ran a 16:01:78 to claim the state title after finishing in sixth place last year.

Sequatchie County junior Grayson Kennedy was 29 seconds behind Douglas’ torrid pace and Signal Mountain freshman Joshua Pote finished in third place.

The surprise of the event had to be the top finishing eighth-grader in Forrest’s Tyler Baxter, who had plenty of gas left at the end of the race as he sprinted to the finish line in 33rd place with a time of 18:36.05 28.

“That was his personal best by at least a minute, he did great today, if he’s at 18:30 as an eighth-grader, I can’t wait until he is a senior,” Webb said. “I’m really proud of the entire boys’ team, I couldn’t ask for better times today, I think they were all under 25 minutes.”

Baxter’s finish was the highest for a Forrest cross country runner since Quinton Watkins came home in 22nd place in his junior season of 2007-2008, running a 17:32:50 at the Steeplechase Course at Percy Warner Park in Nashville.

Watkins also went to the state championships in 2008-2009 and finished in 76th.

The remainder of the Forrest finishers were senior CJ Sanchez, who finished in 45th, juniors Deason Jones (96th) and Braden Vanderploeg (117th), senior Gavin Allen (142th), and freshmen Zach Schnapp (144th) and Nyles Taylor (156th).

Cornersville senior Eli Hinds, who ran a 19:31:70, finished up his Bulldog cross country career with a 75th place finish on Thursday, besting Luke Ledford’s 82nd place finish in 2018-2019.

Division 1 Boys 5000 Meter Run Finals

Top 20 and Marshall County Athletes

Place Athlete Team Result

1 Will Douglas 10 Camden 16:01.78

2 Grayson Kennedy 11 Sequatchie County

3 Joshua Pote 9 Signal Mountain 16:31.64

4 Irving Medina Chuckey-Doak 16:35.86

5 Carter Bradford Sequatchie County 16:37.44

6 Abdul Jaber Alcoa 16:38.22

7 Matthew Andrea Fairview 16:47.35

8 Parker Breitling 9 Merrol Hyde Magnet 16:48.91

9 Sam Fulton Gatlinburg-Pittman 16:55.01

10 Ryan Keeton 12 Fairview 16:56.88

11 Colton Underwood 12 Signal Mountain 17:11.53

12 Dan Greer Madison Academic Magnet 17:15.86

13 Chandler Dalton West Greene High School 17:18.50

14 Nicholas Skarsten Dresden 17:29.32

15 Maxwell Sewell Signal Mountain 17:33.36

16 BJ Frankum Union City High School 14 17:40.68

17 Mason Howell 10 Signal Mountain 17:49.42 15

18 Cedrion Cook Union City High School

19 Samuel Eden White House-Heritage High School 17:53.53

20 Adolfo Mireles Madison Academic Magnet High School 17:59.56

33 Tyler Baxter 8 Forrest High School 18:36.05 28

45 CJ Sanchez 12 Forrest High School 18:50.92

75 Eli Hinds 12 Cornersville 19:31.70

96 Deason Jones 11 Forrest High School 20:16.23 81

117 Braden Vanderploeg 11 Forrest 21:05:41

142 Gavin Allen 12 Forrest High School 22:49.00 126

144 Zach Schnapp 9 Forrest High School 23:11.38

156 Nyles Taylor 9 Forrest High School 24:33.64

Team Scores

Top 5 and Forrest

1 Signal Mountain (Total Time: 1:27:05.88)

2 Merrol Hyde Magnet (Total Time: 1:30:59.14)

3 Alcoa (Total Time: 1:31:25.56)

4 Fairview (Total Time: 1:30:50.40)

5 Madison Academic (Total Time: 1:32:05.81)

17 Forrest (Total Time: 1:41:37.61)

Division 1 Girls 5000 Meter Run Finals

Top 20 and Forrest

Place Athlete Team Result

1 Alyssa Andrea 10 Fairview 20:04.62

2 Kelsey Thompson 10 Signal Mountain 20:14.71

3 Jaedyn Stalnecker 10 Forrest 20:22.07

4 Lily Stinnett 11 Gatlinburg-Pittman 20:30.27

5 Sophia Gibby 12 Signal Mountain 20:32.33 4

6 Gracen Glover 12 Signal Mountain 20:40.68

7 Serenity Williams 12 Madison Academic 20:46.73

8 Stefani Johnson 10 Gatlinburg-Pittman 20:59.99

9 Jillyen Givens 10 Sequatchie County 21:10.46

10 Keke Norfolk 09 Sweetwater 21:14.25

11 Gianna Cruz 08 Merrol Hyde Magnet 21:15.33

12 Loren Sloan 09 Fairview 21:18.67

13 Anna Kate Tibbs 12 Sequatchie County 21:19.48

14 Lexie LaDuc 10 Cannon County 21:28.81

15 Lexi Bates 12 Northview Academy 21:36.71

16 Samantha Anderson 12 Stewart County 21:57.59

17 Hannah Laramore 08 Signal Mountain 22:01.59

18 Ada Laramore 08 Signal Mountain 22:01.80

19 Rachael Brewer 09 Hickman Co. 22:08.73

20 Lydia Whitlock 10 Alcoa 22:18.60

30 Justina Mosley 11 Forrest 22:58.92

90 Micah Reasonover 10 Forrest 25:16.52

93 Marysa Edde 11 Forrest 25:27.61 69

127 Amber Sanchez 10 Forrest 27:06.65 99

150 Hannah Villazon 12 Forrest 28:45.71 121

154 Saryna Kurtz 12 Forrest 29:33.36 125

Team Scores

Top 5 and Forrest

1 Signal Mountain (Total Time: 1:45:31.11)

2 Merrol Hyde Magnet (Total Time: 1:56:53.92)

3 Gatlinburg-Pittman (Total Time: 1:54:41.30)

4 Sequatchie County (Total Time: 1:56:32.12)

5 Westmoreland (Total Time: 2:00:24.19)

10 Forrest (Total Time: 2:01:11.77)

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