published Sunday, November 6th, 2011

CCS girls, Ward earn state titles

NASHVILLE -- The Chattanooga Christian girls' cross country runners realized their talent level during the region championship meet last week at Chickamauga Dam.

Saturday, they made the rest of the state realize how talented they were.

The Lady Chargers claimed the A/AA team championship at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, beating second-place Greeneville by almost 30 points. McCallie's boys placed second in Division II-AA.

Individually, McMinn County's Haley Ward won the Class AAA race, while East Hamilton's Nick McCormick and Baylor's Simon Holden placed second in the A/AA and Division II-AA boys' groups. Ward's time of 18 minutes, 41.87 seconds in the five-kilometer event was the best time of all the girls' runners Saturday.

Baylor's girls had their streak of three consecutive state championships broken. The Lady Red Raiders finished third in Division II-AA. Signal Mountain's girls were fifth in A/AA.

CCS's Sarah Hoffman was the team's top finisher, taking fourth in the race. The Lady Chargers won their first team state title since back-to-back wins in 1999-2000.

"I'm just so proud of the girls," CCS coach Dave Miller said. "After the region race, we looked at team scores from other region races and realized that we had a chance. This is just a fun-loving group of girls that came together to be a team, and they were very talented as well."

Signal Mountain, East Hamilton and Chattanooga Christian went 4-5-6 in the A/AA boys' race. Signal's Matthew Marshall finished ninth, while CCS's Cameron Anderson was 12th.

Martin Luther King's Sam Klockenkemper won the race in 16:22.46, nine seconds ahead of McCormick.

"By far, this was my best time and race of the year," McCormick said. "It was also the hardest race of the year, with the pace that everybody runs with."

McCallie coach Mike Wood had four of the top-13 finishers in the race, led by Derek Barnes' fifth-place finish. The Blue Tornado finished second with a nucleus of four sophomores and a junior.

"We're young and felt pretty good coming in, so this is tough to take," Wood said. "We didn't run our best race today, but we'll bounce back and be fine."

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