published Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Beka Day, Nick McCormick set course records

When Cleveland High School cross country coach Casey Parks took his team out of the Cherokee Classic a few weeks ago, it gave his runners an opportunity to work on their speed and endurance training.

Apparently, Beka Day took full advantage of it.

Day won at the Chattanooga Cross Country League meet at Woodland Park on Tuesday, covering the five-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 51 seconds. Her time broke the course record held by former GPS standout Johanna Gartman, who covered the course in 20:11.92 in 2010.

East Hamilton's Nick McCormick did even better in his race, finishing in 16:26 and shaving nearly a minute off Baylor's Simon Holden's record of 17:16.55, also from 2010.

Team titles went to the Heritage girls and Dalton's boys, who edged Baylor by one point.

Day led for the duration of the girls' race, defeating Dalton's Bekah Houston by 45 seconds.

"I liked having the extra couple of weeks to prepare," Day said. "I liked this course. It has a couple of hills, but I was happy with my time. I earned this win with the training I did over the summer."

She averaged 45 miles per week during the grueling months of June and July.

Houston trimmed three minutes off the time she ran at Chickamauga Dam in the first meet of the year.

"It's good that I'm able to run on courses like this," she said. "It starts flat; then there are some hills along the way, but it finishes flat, too."

McCormick actually thought he started too fast. It took him until the second mile to get into a groove, but he reached his goal of running in the 16:20s.

"I liked the course, but I probably should have hydrated better during the day," McCormick said. "It's the same thing I did at the jamboree."

He won that race, too.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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