NASHVILLE - As he watched his teammates cross the finish line Saturday afternoon, and accepted congratulations for his second-place finish, McCallie senior Derek Barnes became overcome with emotion.
"I realized this was the last time I'd get a chance to run with these guys," said Barnes, who came to the Chattanooga school from Miami in 2010. "That's when it hit me. I came in as a boarder and they treated me like one of the guys from day one."
The Blue Tornado made sure that one of their final races together was a memorable one, with four top-15 finishers and a total of 47 points for a second consecutive Division II-AA team title at Percy Warner Park.
McCallie coach Mike Wood said his team accomplished a couple of things Saturday. Not only did the Tornado get the victory, but they got that win in what he called the team's "worst race of the year."
"We didn't follow our plan," he said. "Ramsay [Ritchie] and I were supposed to stay in front of the Brentwood Academy twins, but I could see Ramsay weaving. I know we didn't do what we wanted to do, but our five-to-seven runners stepped up huge to help us get this victory."
Dylan Carmack was seventh for McCallie, while Matthew Jones was 10th. Ritchie finished 12th.
Jackson Goodwin and Alex Sumida had all-state finishes for the Baylor boys, who finished fifth and return their entire team in 2014.
Montgomery Bell Academy's Eric Anderson won the five-kilometer event in 15 minutes, 52.30 seconds, while Brentwood Academy's Allison Cheeseman won the girls' race.
GPS's Madison Watson finished seventh, earning all-state honors and helping the Bruisers to a fourth-place finish. Baylor's Grace Carlson was eighth as the Lady Red Raiders finished fifth.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.