CCHS runners fare well at state championship

May 23—Stuart Bowen, the head track and field coach at Cumberland County High School, didn't know exactly how well his team would do last week at the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association State Championship in Murfreesboro.

But the Jets and Lady Jets put Bowen's fears to rest quickly when Zach Ostrander finished third in the 3200 meters, and the relay team of Linsey Colton, Alexis Carroll, Rebekah Ostrander and Caylin Hale finished third in the 4x800 meter relay.

"I am really proud of the way these guys competed," said Bowen. "They worked so hard to perform the best they could, and I could not have asked for anything more."

Zach Ostrander's performance was stellar, Bowen said. He had a time of 9 minutes, 48 seconds over the two miles.

"Zach came in as a freshman and it has been fun to watch him improve," Bowen explained. "He is such a hard worker and it is just part of his DNA. I can't wait to see him next year. I wouldn't be surprised if he's the one everyone is chasing.

"Zach ran really well. We knew the pace was going to be slow. Some of the guys had run the mile earlier in the day, and they got out in front of the pack and slowed things down. However, Zach did great. After the first turn, he led until the seventh lap."

Bowen said Zach is probably the most improved runner in the state. The CCHS coach said Zach was hoping to finish under 11 minutes in the 3200 when he came in as a freshman. Now, as a junior, he is running under 10 minutes.

In the girls 4x800 relay event, the Lady Jets worked well together to post a time of 10 minutes, 42 seconds.

"I think things went well for us as far as the season goes. We had some injury issues that may have affected things," Bowen said. "But we knew the girls team would be really young. It was a growth year for us.

"The first three teams in the race were out of reach for us. As far as getting fourth or fifth, we kind of got into a bad race pattern. We didn't do anything spectacular as far as our finish in the race, but we did run our seed time, at least."

Bowen said he thinks this year's performance at the state meet was Cumberland County's 19th straight appearance in the final race of the year.

"Linsey did a good job in the fourth leg. Caylin Hale, our freshman, led off. She is such a fighter," the coach said. "None of them accept losing.

"They had never been to the state before, but they did so well. I think our goal next year is to do more than just get there."