Volunteer claims first title, THS’ Arrington wins Farwell conference

by STEVE WILMOTH

TriCitiesSports.com

October 17, 2022

BRISTOL, Tenn. — The Volunteer Lady Falcons are conference cross-country champions for the first time in school history while Tennessee High senior Zoe Arrington won for the first time this season in her farewell run on the course she loves to hate…or does he hate to love?

Either way, the two came to the 2022 Three Rivers Conference Championships on Monday afternoon at Steele Creek Park. It is the home course of Tennessee High’s cross country teams and where Arrington has competed many times before.

“I hadn’t won this year yet, so it’s bittersweet to win my last conference race and to win it here, since I train here all the time and the conference meets and the Bristol Cross is there,” Arrington said.

The Kennesaw State engagement whizzed to the finish line in a modest, by its standards, 21:14.6.

“I ran very well last week. I still had all that crud, but I was running pretty hard,” added Arrington. “So I didn’t think it would bother me much, but I woke up yesterday feeling absolutely awful. I thought maybe I could sleep, but with the cool air and the wind, that wasn’t all just not in my favor today.The last mile or so I was wheezing.

Jacie Begley of Volunteer was second in 21:19.6, falling victim to a fast early pace for third place in the state in the 800 meters at last spring’s track and field championships.

“Jacie is a sprinter, so she pushed the pace a little too early,” volunteer coach Jim Ailshie said. “I think with her speed, she just needed to be patient and make it a kicker run.

“As a runner, you learn from different racing situations and she will learn from that and come back better to meet the region and the state.”

Still, Begley led a Lady Falcon contingent that featured three all-conference performances and five top-13 finishers.

Emma and Anna Houck finished sixth and seventh respectively in 23:18.7 and 23:22.6. Lillie Bullock placed 12th with a time of 24:58.8 with Sabella Borghetti-Metz one place behind in 13th in 25:11.3.

Tennessee High led by one point from three runners, but Bullock put the Lady Falcons ahead by one point and Borghetti-Metz sealed the deal for a final count of 26-30.

“I thought Sabella, who was injured, really stepped up and was our fifth runner,” Ailshie noted. “I thought that was a big key to the meeting. It really played out between us and Tennessee High more or less in a doubles type situation.

The five scorers of the first-ever conference champions return next season.

“They must be proud of that and I am as a coach,” added Ailshie. “A lot of time and effort has gone into this. It’s really the kids, it’s them who ran and worked hard. I’m really happy with how things are going today.

“Tennessee has a great team, Zoe (Arrington) is a fantastic runner and I have a lot of respect for them. I ran against (THS coach) Frankie Nunn when I was in high school and Tom Murrell was a distance coach at Tennessee High at the time. They have a tremendous cross-country tradition there and so for Volunteer to win their first championship against a school with a great tradition in the sport really means a lot to me.

Elizabethton’s Helen Hackett (22:41.8) was third, followed by University High’s Melina Summey (23:03.8) in fourth and Tennessee High’s Jenna Reecher (23:06.3) in fifth. Lady Viking Ellyson Kovacs (23:41.3) placed eight, Happy Valley’s Seilah Pickering (23:53.7) was ninth with Jayla Vance (24:26.4) tenth.

Each of the top ten in the race earned all-conference status.

2022 Three Rivers Conference Women’s Championships

Steele Creek Park – Bristol, Tennessee

Results by team – 1. Volunteer 26, 2. Tennessee High 30

Top 15 Individual Finalists (Top 10 All Conferences) – 1. Zoe Arrington, Tennessee High, 21:14.6; 2. Jacie Begley, volunteer, 21:19.6; 3. Helen Hackett, Elizabethton, 22:41.8; 4. Melina Summey, University High School, 23:03.8; 5. Jenna Reecher, Tennessee High, 23:06.3; 6. Emma Houck, volunteer, 23:18.7; 7. Anna Houck, volunteer, 23:22.6; 8. Ellyson Kovacs, Tennessee High, 23:41.3; 9. Seilah Pickering, Happy Valley, 23:53.7; 10. Jayla Vance, Sullivan East, 24:26.4; 11. Jasey Hyatt, Elizabethton, 24:29.7; 12. Lillie Bullock, volunteer, 24:58.8; 13. Sabella Borghetti-Metz, Volunteer, 25:11.3; 14. Felicity Darby, Tennessee High, 25:28.9; 15 Grace Artz, Elizabethton, 25:54.9.

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