Nothing was going to keep Signal Mountain star track and field athlete Briley Lowry from making the most of her senior season.
As the Lady Eagles climbed to the top of the medal stand after running away with the TSSAA Division I Small School state championship Tuesday at the Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, the moment was only fitting for Lowry to help hold up the team trophy.
Lowry's heart, competitiveness and desire to win have been on display often in her final prep season. She played through a torn ACL and accounted for the Class A soccer state championship game-winning assist to Ava Duffey in the 74th minute to beat Merol Hyde in November. On Tuesday at Rockvale High School she helped Signal Mountain score a school record 126 points, more than doubling-up second-place Madison Academic Magnet's 61 team points.
"I had missed the state soccer tournament my junior year when I tore my other ACL and I was determined to not miss another state championship," said Lowry, who was the leading goal scorer as the soccer team won its third consecutive state title. "I played through the pain and two days later had surgery. From there I started doing everything I could to get back to track. They told me it would be six to eight months before I could run again.
"I started competing four months after my surgery. I had to be back for this. Competing and playing sports is what I live for."
Even while wearing a large knee brace, Lowry showed off her athleticism Tuesday as she placed second in the 4x400 relay, third in the 4x200 and was seventh in the 400-meter dash.
Dustin Carpenter's Lady Eagles — who have 13 seniors on the team — delivered in big ways, specially junior Kara Wilson, who medaled in five state championship events. After finishing second in her first state pentathlon last week, Wilson finished second in the triple jump (36 feet), third in the 200-meter run (25.84), third in the 4x200 (1:48) and seventh in the long jump (16-7). Senior Gracen Glover also dominated the 3200-meter run, winning the grueling race in 11:59.
"This whole team is super impressive," Wilson said. "We have so much quality depth. We all were focused and tried to do whatever we could to help us win a state title. We are pumped we ran away with the title like we did."
The championship was Signal Mountain's first in girls track and field since they had a three-peat championship run come to an end in 2016. Their 126 points broke the previous school record of 100.
Montez Deloney blossomed into a star this track and field season for the Panthers. He was one of two Chattanooga athletes to medal in five different state track and field events Tuesday. Deloney won the 300-meter hurdles with a personal record time of 40.71 after he won the state decathlon last week.
"We left it all on the line and helped send our senior teammate Xiyeer (Lattimore) out on a good note with a couple of medals, too," said Deloney, who medaled in the 110-meter hurdles and two relays as well. "This was a great team event and I couldn't have done it without my guys."
Bradford wins state
Sequatchie County junior Carter Bradford won a state championship in the mile, finishing in 4:32. He medaled in the top six of the 800, 1600 and 3200.
"All the hard work is paying off," Bradford said. "Winning a state title hasn't sunk in yet, but it's amazing. I didn't start running until two years ago. I love to play basketball too, but I have loved running and hope to go Division I one day in it."
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon