Girls’ Dream Team
Gracie O’Neal (Soph., Gordon Lee) - After averaging over 24 minutes a race a year ago, the Walker County Girls’ Runner of the Year cut her time down to 19:25 this time around with a blistering season-best of 18:19 in Rome. She cruised to region (19:30) and state (20:23) championships with ease.
Alex Gass (Sr., Heritage) - One of three Heritage runners to share this year’s Catoosa County Girls’ Runner of the Year award, the senior averaged 22:29 this past season, finished eighth at the region meet (22:11), ran a 23:22 at state and a had a season-low 21:50 in Jasper.
Caylee Carpenter (Sr., Heritage) - The Catoosa County Girls’ Co-Runner of the Year averaged 22:30 on the season with a season-best of 21:30 at Baylor. She placed ninth at the Region 6-AAAA meet (22:13) and ran a 22:37 at state.
Allison Craft (Fr., Heritage) - She led the Heritage in both the region meet (21:34), where she placed fifth, and set a season-best at the state meet, where she clocked a 22:37. The Catoosa Co-Runner of the Year averaged 22:40 this season.
Riley Cash (Sr., Gordon Lee) - The dependable senior closed out her Gordon Lee career by helping the Lady Trojans to two region titles, a state runner-up finish and a state third-place finish. She had an average of 23:28 with a season-low of 22:17 at Ridge Ferry.
Lucy Hicks (Soph., Heritage) - The sophomore’s time came down all season long. She ran a season-best 22:25 at the Front Runner Championships and broke 23 minutes (22:55) at the region meet, averaging 23:43 for the year.
Kate Gilliam (Sr., Gordon Lee) - A former Walker County Runner of the Year, the senior had a solid final season, averaging 24:19, turning in a season-low 23:06 at the Darlington XC Festival and running 24:11 to place 14th at state.
Grayson Alexander (Fr., Gordon Lee) - It was a nice year for the Lady Trojans’ rookie, who had a season-best 23:05 in Rome, ran a 23:46 at the Region 6-A meet and averaged 24:24 for all her races this season.
Taylor McAllister (Soph., Gordon Lee) - The sophomore ran a season-best 23:10 in her first race of the season at Ridge Ferry and was consistent all year long, averaging 24:24 for the year with a 22nd place state finish.
Lily Black (Jr., Heritage) - The junior’s time improved as the season wore on with a 22:25 at Baylor serving as her best race of the year. She averaged 24:32, ran a 23:33 at the region meet and clocked in with a 24:10 at state.
Emma Cate Dendy (Jr., Gordon Lee) - A 23:56 at Baylor was the junior’s lowest time of the year and she came on strong at the end of the season with a 24:42 at region and a 21st place finish at state, ending up with an average of 24:52.
Kaylan Jackson (Jr., Gordon Lee) - Her 22:59 at the season-opening Ridge Ferry Invitational served as her fastest time of the season and she went on to average a 24:54 for the year for the Class A Public School state runners-up.
Girls’ Honorable Mention - Gordon Lee: Kayelee Bell, Chanler Hysell, Michaela Russell; LFO: Brooklyn Carter; LaFayette: Hannah Dearing, Kaci Rogers, Caitlyn Watson; Heritage: Finley Brisendine, Skye Remko; Ridgeland: Macie Boren; Ringgold: Jersey McCann
Boys’ Dream Team
Jasper Wilson (Jr., Gordon Lee) - The Walker County Boys’ Runner of the Year won the region title and finished second in state, while also setting a new school-record of 16:50 during the year. He finished with a season average of 17:26, winning two meets and finishing second twice.
Erik Martinez (Jr., LFO) - The Catoosa County Boys’ Runner of the Year won a Chattanooga League meet at Grove Level, was fourth in the 6-AAA meet and placed 15th with a 17:36 in his third straight appearance at state. He finished with an average time of 17:37 this year.
Ian Goodwin (Soph., Gordon Lee) - The sophomore took a big leap forward in his second year at the high school level, placing second in the region meet and fourth at state with an average time of 18:20.
Caleb Boyd (Jr., Heritage) - It was a big year for the Generals’ standout, who paced his team in every race, placing sixth in the 6-AAAA meet and finishing the year with an average time of 18:27.
Jake Lee (Fr., Gordon Lee) - Much was expected and much was delivered by the rookie, including a third-place showing at the region meet, a 10th place finish at state and an average time of 18:44.
Josh Perea (Fr., LaFayette) - The Ramblers’ rookie was a pleasant surprise for the Orange-and-Black as he averaged 18:54 for the season with a personal-best 18:25 at Baylor and a 16th place finish at the 6-AAAA meet.
Mason Burkett (Sr., LaFayette) - The senior was the most consistent runner for the Ramblers, finishing with a season average of 19:10 and coming in 22nd at the Region 6-AAAA meet in Dalton.
Devin Henderson (Soph., LaFayette) - The second-year runner shaved off nearly two minutes from his first meet of the season to his last. He led LaFayette with an 11th place finish at the region meet and averaged 19:13 for the year.
Ryan Craft (Jr., Heritage) - A 14th place showing at the region meet with a 18:34 served as his season-best and he averaged 19:14 for the year, while at the same time serving as the placekicker for the football team.
Joel Lewis (Fr., Heritage) - The Generals’ rookie enjoyed a solid season with an average time of 19:24, including an season-best time of 18:50 at the Front Runner Championships at Baylor.
Coby Voyles (Sr., Ridgeland) - The senior assumed the top spot among the Ridgeland runners in his final prep season with a season-best 18:54 at the Fast Break Challenge at Heritage and an average season time of 19:27.
Matthew Newsom (Sr., LaFayette) - An 18:47 at the Front Runner Championships at Baylor proved to be his top time of the year and he ended the year by clocking in an average time of 19:32.
Boys’ Honorable Mention - Gordon Lee: Cole Collins, Braxton Ledford, Jake Wright; LFO: Brandon Guzman, Roc Hammonds; LaFayette: Andrew Long, Steven Sanford, William Sainthill, Noah Armstrong; Heritage: Nhan Le, Luke Shackleford, Andrew Song, Jonathan Manion, Dakota Carter, Lance Marshall; Ridgeland: Josiah Williams, Eliot Jones, Will Voyles, Dakota Dehart, Beau Baker; Ringgold: Cooper Shull, Dau Dau, Joseph Santiago
The Catoosa/Walker County Cross Country Dream Team is selected by Sports Editor Scott Herpst based on performances from the most recent season.