WITH both its teams finishing in the top 10, Jefferson showed that it’s a program to be reckoned with in boys’ and girls’ cross country ranks.
The Jefferson boys finished sixth in Class AA at the Nov. 4 state meet in Carrollton, led by senior Trae Timmerman, who posted a 17:34 in his final race to finish 18th. The Dragons were bolstered as well by 21st place finish from sophomore Kyle Kashuba, who ran a 17:37 to help the team finish in the top 10.
“They really had a good week of practice leading up,” coach Allen Thompson said. “We knew the competition was going to be totally different.”
Thompson said Timmerman — who should have opportunities to run in college — really rose to the occasion after a season of prepping for this moment.
“He went into the race looking at it like you do a lot of times in life when you know it’s going to be the last time you’re going to do something,” he said.
Two other Jefferson runners ran in the 18s — Nicholas Parker (70th, 18:47) and Lorenzo Cain (72nd, 18:48). Jake Sherman (89th, 19:09) rounded out the scoring.
The Dragons finished second among public schools and second among Region 8-AA teams at state, behind only North Oconee.
Private schools Westminster, Lovett and Blessed Trinity finished in the top three spots.
Jefferson’s sixth-place finish was better than one internet projection that had the Dragons finishing eighth. Thompson said he offered that to his runners as motivation.
“Eighth after all that dedication and hard work? I kind of held that over them,” Thompson said.
The Jefferson girls managed 10th-place finish, led by Reese Bowles’ 20th-place showing (21:00). She was followed by Sasha Parker (73rd, 23:42), Olivia Yates (76th, 23:46), Holly Barron (84th, 24:04) and Maggie Adams (104th, 24:44).
Thompson praised the hard work of the girls’ squad.
“Coach (Katie) Sellers just does a great job with the girls,” Thompson said. “She works them as hard as any girls program at the school.”
None of her runners worked harder than Bowles, who participated in 125 workouts dating back to May. Thompson said that hard work paid off at state.
“She’s totally dedicated,” Thompson said.
As for the team, the Lady Dragons again proved that they have one of the better programs in the state.
“All and all a top 10 finish 10 years in a row, we were just really pleased,” Thompson said.
As for next year, there’s a good chance that Jefferson may find itself taking a full bus again to state with much of the boys’ and girls’ cast returning in 2012.
“The future looks bright for both the programs,” Thompson said. “We pretty much have most all of the runners back.”