Cleveland senior Ryan Lovelace concluded an excellent prep cross country career with his top-10 finish in the TSSAA Class AAA state meet Thursday at Hendersonville's Sanders Ferry Park.
With temperatures in the mid-50s for the afternoon race, the Blue Raiders standout completed the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course in 15 minutes and 52 seconds to finish 10th. Lovelace's place was six spots higher and his time 35 seconds faster than at the 2020 state meet.
His official time of 15:52.80 is the fastest for a Chattanooga-area runner in the AAA/Division I Large state meet since former Red Bank star Cole Bullock was third at 15:44.44 in 2018.
Lovelace — a region champion who took an official visit to Iowa this fall — also won the McCallie Invitational this year with a personal-record 5k time of 15:23.33. That is the fastest time by any area cross country runner this season.
Also in the AAA boys' state meet Thursday, Ooltewah's Chance Underwood was 63rd at 17:11.09. Ravenwood's Miles Ramer won at 15:10.35, with Bartlett's Landen McNair the runner-up at 15:19.66 and Hardin Valley Academy's Kaden Keller third at 15:33.34 as part of the state championship team.
Lovelace secured his high place despite running without the support of a full team qualifying for state; he was the only top-10 finisher in that situation.
In the AAA girls' meet, Cleveland's Estella Clemons was the top Chattanooga-area finisher in 44th at 19:55.20, while Walker Valley freshman Sadie Wielfaert was 73rd at 20:30.60 as the Lady Mustangs finished 18th out of 24 teams.
Siegel's Kyra Hayes won in 18:05.30, followed by Arlington's Ann-Marie Braes (18:06.70) and Maryville's Andie-Marie Jones (18:16.20). Brentwood won the team title.
State competition continues Friday at Sanders Ferry Park with the remaining boys' and girls' races for Class A/AA, Division II-A and DII-AA.