published Sunday, November 4th, 2012

McCallie Blue Tornado, Simon Holden, Baylor Lady Raiders win cross country titles at Warner Park

BRENTWOOD, Tenn.— The Baylor girls' and McCallie cross country teams, along with Baylor senior Simon Holden, won titles at the TSSAA state meet Saturday at Percy Warner Park.

Holden ran the 5-kilometer event in 16 minutes, 6.81 seconds, while the Lady Red Raiders and Blue Tornado earned three-point Division II victories over Brentwood Academy.

Holden finished 20th as a freshman before blowing up on the state meet in 2010, finishing 39th after starting out far too fast. He was second last year before winning in his fourth try.

"It's my senior year, so I definitely wanted to win," he said. "It was my last chance. Those other years motivated me. That blow-up was embarrassing and I looked dumb, but last year I was better. This year strategy-wise, my approach was the same. Coach told me to go and I had to listen to my coach."

The best advice Baylor coach Jan Gautier gave to Holden didn't come Saturday; it came when she prodded the lacrosse player as a ninth-grader into running cross country.

"He has been nothing but focused this year," she said. "He built his confidence and really wanted to be a state champ. He did everything I asked him to do, and I'm happy he got the win."

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