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Townsend sets all grades course record, leading No. 1 Watauga in ‘Run for the Hills’ XC race

By David Rogers. BRISTOL, Tenn. — With almost half of the top 15 girls competing in the 2023 Run for the Hills middle school girls cross country race wearing Pioneer colors, including four in the Top 10, Watauga ran away with the team title on Aug. 26.

MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS 2400-METER FINAL (252 runners competing)
  • No. 1 – Cali Townsend (8th Grade)
  • No. 5. – Kate James Moore (6th Grade)
  • No. 10 – Maia Carter (6th Grade)
  • No. 11 – Ayla Tunstill (7th Grade)
  • No. 12 – Lillian Kimbrough (8th Grade)
  • No. 13 – Sophia Stull (7th Grade)
  • No. 22 – Eva Hannon (7th Grade)
  • No. 23 – Grace Scantlin (8th Grade)


  • No. 1 – Watauga Middle School
  • No. 2 – Liberty Bell Middle School
  • No. 3 – Indian Trail Middle School

“What can you say about our girls except they are terrific competitors?” said Watauga Middle School cross country head coach Scott Townsend. “We won this meet as a team for the third year in a row, with a first place score of 19 points (15 points is perfect). Moreover, our entire girls team finished ahead of 99 other athletes. Out of 299 runners in the race, placing all of our top scoring five in the top 12 is pretty remarkable.”

Townsend also noted that his daughter, Cali Townsend, set an all grades course record by three seconds, a record previously set by current University of North Carolina runner Sasha Neglia. He also reported that Watauga 6th grader Kate James Moore now holds the course record previous held by… Cali Townsend… beating the former mark by 10 seconds.

MIDDLE SCHOOL BOYS 2400-METER FINAL (300 runners competing)

On any other day, a Sean Rea’s No. 34 finish in the Run for the Hills middle school boys cross country race might go unnoticed. But considering the Blowing Rock 7th grader was No. 34 out of 300 runners in the race and on an unfamiliar course, Rea’s finish is noteworthy.

And although he beat the Watauga Middle School team record, Rea wasn’t even the best Watauga runner to finish the race. That honor goes to fellow 7th grader Jonah Pearson, who finished No. 15.

  • No. 15 – Jonah Pearson (7th Grade)
  • No. 34 – Sean Rea (7th Grade)
  • No. 91 – Asa Freed (6th Grade)
  • No. 95 – Caleb Duvall (7th Grade)

As a team, Watauga finshed No. 9 out of 21 teams.

“Our kids came out like prizefighters today, looking to cause some serious hurt!” said  Townsend after the race. “Our boys are growing and getting better each week. The difference in scoring positions for the No. 1 boy runner and the No. 5 has been cut in half. Every single one of our boys improved on their mile pace from last week.”


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