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HomeMiddle SchoolTownsend 3-Peats to lead Watauga Middle School Harriers in Jonesborough

Townsend 3-Peats to lead Watauga Middle School Harriers in Jonesborough

By David Rogers. JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. — For the third year in a row, Watauga middle schooler Cali Townsend captured the Fender’s Farm Cross Country Carnival title in the Middle School Girls Division.

As a 6th grader in 2021, Townsend ran the 2-mile event in 12:36.20. In 2022, she improved on the earlier time, navigating the 2-mile distance in 12:35. 10. On Sept. 16, as an 8th grader, she covered the distance in 12:55.10, well ahead of Liberty Bell Middle School 8th grader, Avery Whitson (13:03.80).

With 271 athletes competing, representing 29 school teams, with all five scoring runners finishing in the top 11. In addition to Townsend’s No. 1 finish was Sophia Stull at No. 5, Ayla Tunstill at No. 8, Kate James Moore at No. 9, and Lillian Kimbrough at No. 11.

Other Watauga runners finished well, too, including Eva Hannon at No. 21, Noelle Bollman at No. 34, Grace Scantlin at No. 35, Merritt Powell at No. 49, Addie Greer at No. 58, Gianna Casco at No. 59, Ella Goodman-Meade at No. 61, Savannah Moretz at No. 66, Lelila McTier at No. 77, Xitlali Luna at No. 99, Lillian Olson at No. 100, and Bianca Casco at No. 101.

“To have so many of our athletes finish in or near the top third of their middle school peers is exciting,” said Watauga head coach Scott Townsend. “When you think that Bianca Casco, Ella Goodman-Meade, Addie Greer, and Kate James Moore are all in the 6th grade and six others are still in the 7th grade… well, it speaks well for the future of our program, as well as the high school program further out in their running careers.”

The 2023 team championship in the Fender’s Farm XC Festival is also a 3-peat, noted Townsend and the times keep getting better.

“The entire girls team ran under a 10-minute mile pace this year, again,” said Townsend, emphasizing the AGAIN. “Our biggest gains came among the girls running in the eight to nine minutes per mile pace range. That shows these girls are working, and working hard to improve every week.”


With less than half of the Watauga middle school boys team competing in the Fender’s Farm race, the team still finished No. 16 out o 27 middle school teams taking part.

With 284 boys cross country athletes competing at Fender’s Farm, Blowing Rock School 7th grader Sean Rea placed No. 15 to lead Watauga. The next Watauga boys to cross the line was Yates Hodges (6th grade, No. 118), Cole Gray (8th grade, No. 122), Olin Coley (6th grade, No. 156), Charlie Huggins (7th grade, No. 196) and Collin Troisi (7th grade, No. 265).

A quartet of 8th graders topped the boys division field, led by Dylan Robinson of Providence Academy, then Nathan Stevens of Lamar MS, Curtis Todd of Unicoi County MS, and Brayden Brown of Rogersville City School.


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