First titles for Megan Ferowich, Morristown West boys
- Class AAA - Boys: Morristown West 64. Girls: Oak Ridge 67.
- Class A-AA - Boys: Martin Luther King 70. Girls: University School 95 (Trinity Christian 100)
- Class Div II-AA - Boys: Montgomery Bell Academy 43. Girls: Baylor 48
- Class Div II-A - Boys: Webb School 53 Girls: Webb School 33.
- Morristown West boys and Oak Ridge girls win AAA titles.
- Fastest of day are Oak Ridge sr John Sharpe 15:50.62 and Knoxville Catholic soph Megan Ferowich 17:47.76
The Tennessee Rundown
By Patrick McGregory, DyeStat Correspondent
Excitement was high in Nashville for the 2009 TSSSA Championships. While a few key players were missing on the boys side, there was that much more opportunity. And on the girls side, there was a new dominant runner supplanting the great, now-graduated Kathy Kroeger.
In the girls AAA race, there was a lot of hype behind the overwhelming favorite Megan Ferowich. The Knoxville Catholic soph was unbeaten this year and had run 18:02.50.
From the gun, Ferowich established the lead without hesitation. She hammered through the grass course while the crowd cheered her on to a blazing 17:47.76. Her winning margin at the end was a hefty 1:29, certainly Kroegeresque, and she had the fastest time of the day in all classes by the same margin.
“The goal this weekend was just to run fast and win,” Ferowich said. Her coach, Sean O’Neil feels this simple attitude is the key to her success. “She’s a true competitor who always does everything right. Her strategy is just to win every race.”
Ferowich’s teammate Joanna Thompson battled to take second against over Science Hill frosh Molly Foster. But even with Knoxville Catholic’s one-two punch, Oak Ridge took home the team title with a stronger top five. Adrian Etheridge led the championship effort in 4th. “This is just a really fun and silly team,” said Oak Ridge Coach Allen Etheridge (Adrian’s father). “They only know how to have fun, be tough and compete. They ran like a bunch of dang beasts.”
In the guys’ AAA race, John Sharpe of Oak Ridge stole the show in 15:50.62, the fastest time of the day. Sharpe indicated becoming a state champ was somewhat surreal. “I made a move around a turn with a little over 1k to go and I just used the crowd to carry me home,” he said. “They kept telling me, ‘You can win, John!”
The race was also a historic for Morristown West, as they took their first team state championship title in any boy’s sport. “Our top runner, Spencer Frantom, ran the best strategic race I’ve has seen all year,” said winning coach Raymond Farmer. Frantom placed second overall.
The other great story Saturday was in the Division II AA guy’s race. Brandon Lord of Baylor walked away with a convincing victory in 15:53.43, more than thirty seconds ahead of second-place Garret Carmichael of Ensworth. Last year, Lord ran in the shadow of teammate Bill Matthews who won the state meet last year in a course record time of 15:39, then went on to a Foot Locker South win and FL Finals bid. “I really wanted to go for the course record today, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards,” said Lord, who will also be trying to earn a trip to San Diego.
Meanwhile, MBA (Montgomery Bell Academy) was in it to win it in the D-II AA team battle. The 2008 Great American champs had struggled earlier in the season with injury, with one of their top 5 not having competed since September 14th, and another with a boot on his foot just days before the race. “We were cautiously optimistic coming into this race,” said Coach Robert Pruitt.
MBA’s top two – Michael Peters and Ryan Hill – ran well, finishing 3rd and 4th, while the rest of the top five stayed tough and gave a gut check-effort finish for their team. “Our bottom three stayed together most of the race and encouraged each other to persevere,” said Coach Pruitt. The team’s top runner, Peters, felt a little disappointed with his overall individual finish, but still happy they could get it down as a team.