By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
On a cold, blustery day, Kendall Toineeta jumped out in front early and didn’t look back as she ran to a first place finish at the Smoky Mountain Conference Cross Country Championships held at Cherokee High School on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The freshman sensation led the Lady Braves to a third place finish in the overall team contest.
“Kendall is just a superstar,” Eddie Swimmer, CHS cross country coach, said after the race. “There are no words to describe Kendall. She is just a blaze. She takes off and goes.”
Toineeta, who was also named “Most Outstanding Runner” for the Smoky Mountain Conference, came in with a winning time of 20:55.30 – 53 seconds ahead of second place finisher Katie Bowden of Hayesville. Amber Long, Robbinsville, came in third with a time of 22:03.46 and her teammate Lindy Cronk finished fourth with a time of 22:26.99.
With a total of 44 points, Robbinsville won the girls team title. They were followed by Hayesville 55, Cherokee 60, Murphy 77, Andrews 129 and Hiwassee Dam 135.
Other Lady Braves in the race included: Avery Mintz, 9th, 23:13.38; Shayna Ledford, 13th, 23:30.96; Jordyn Thompson, 15th, 23:56.16; Priscilla Squirell, 23rd, 25:43.70; Dejia Burgess, 28th, 26:44.04; Bradley Welch, 33rd, 29:16.42; and Miranda Smith, 37th, 30:05.59.
Swimmer said he is proud of the team, “The girls did good. I’m proud of them. They worked hard. People don’t realize how hard they work – the hours of running that they put in.”
On the boy’s side, Dylan Johnson, Hayesville, took home the title with a time of 16:57.10. He was followed by Frank Cline, Robbinsville, with a time of 17:02.52 and Robert Vinson, Hayesville, with a time of 17:34.63.
Hayesville won the conference team title with a score of 50. They were followed by Murphy 52, Robbinsville 53, Swain County 76, Andrews 153, Hiwassee Dam 163 and Nantahala 198.
Cherokee’s boys team field three runners which is not enough for the team competition. Those runners included: Gerald Mahan, 23rd, 20:51.54; Earl Carroll, 24th, 20:59.29; and Levi Swearingen, 35th, 22:15.58.
Of the meet, Swimmer noted, “I think the meet went very well considering the weather. The teams, they ran tough, they ran hard in this cold weather.”
Cherokee plays host to the Regional Cross Country meet on Saturday, Oct. 29 with the boy’s race scheduled to start at 1pm with the girl’s race to follow.
Visit the One Feather photo galleries to see more images from this event: