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CCHS senior runner hopes for college offer

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By Dwane Wilder

Carlie Childress has racked up many accomplishments the past three seasons while running cross-country for Campbell County High School.

Last year, the Lady Cougars’ top runner claimed her second consecutive Cove Lake Invitational girl’s individual title, placed among the top 10 at the Panther Creek Invitational and finished 28th at the regional championships.

However, the top two goals — qualifying for the state meet and getting a scholarship offer from the University of Tennessee — she has yet to reach.

Campbell County coach Jim Pierce is hoping this is the year Childress will make a name for herself as the best cross-country runner in school history.

“I told her that my goal for her this year was to get to state,” said Pierce.

“We sat down at the end of last year and talked about that. She wants to go to UT and run, and that’s a high standard.”

Competing at the state meet in November would go a long way toward getting Childress the high profile exposure she needs to attract attention from college coaches.

Getting there won’t be easy.

With the top three teams in each of the state’s eight regions earning automatic berths at state, a handful of at-large bids go to the best half dozen or so runners not on those teams. The Lady Cougars finished ninth last year in the Region 2-AAA team standings.

Since Oak Ridge, Knoxville West, Farragut or Bearden are almost always the top teams in Region 2, that means Childress is likely going to have to finish among the top 20 individuals overall to reach the state meet.

Region 2 newcomer Hardin Valley is pushing to have the top five teams in each region qualify for state, which would open up the field considerably.

In order to push Childress toward a top-20 pace, Pierce wants her to start running with the boys during team practices.

“I talked with her about it, and she is really receptive to the idea,” said Pierce.

Campbell County sophomore Kristin Chapman, one runner who might have challenged Childress, chose not to return to the cross-country team in order to concentrate on basketball and track. Chapman finished third in the state high jump earlier this year.

Lauren Evans, another sophomore, just got back from cross-country camp. She finished 33rd last fall at regionals — only five places behind Childress — and should be among the Lady Cougars’ top five runners, along with her older sister Lindsay, sophomore Shelby Jones and senior Jessica Moore.

The remainder of the CCHS girl’s team includes Amber Young, Kira Dash, sisters Campbell and Camille Reynolds, Cassandra Wallen, Courtney Miller, Lucy Branam and Maria Green.

“I’m looking for some help from Camille Reynolds. I think she could be one of the top girls if she works hard,” said Pierce.

Campbell County’s boys will be the led by the sophomore trio of Dayne Deavours, Chase Lindsay and Tyler Chapman. Deavours placed 50th at the 2008 regionals, but Chapman was pushing for the team lead in pre-season practice last week.

Lucas Nelson, a junior, finished 55 at regionals a year ago and could surpass that this season. Juniors Daniel Peach and Aaron Brown are battling for the fifth and final scoring position.

Other members of the CCHS boy’s team include Kolby Poteet, Gunner St. John, Nathan Bolton, Gabe Bolling, Caleb Ayers, Jacob Owens, Eli Caudill and newcomer Nate Kennedy.

Campbell County will open the 2009 cross-country season on Aug. 25 at Panther Creek.