Hollingsworth runs well at state

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Marshall County High School's Leah Hollingsworth (282) takes off at the start of the TSSAA Class A/AA State Cross Country Championships at Percy Warner Park at Nashville on Saturday. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Marshall County High School junior long distance runner Leah Hollingsworth made her third consecutive trip to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association's Class A/AA Cross Country State Championships on Saturday and turned in her career best time on the Percy Warner Park Steeplechase course at Nashville.

"I tried to focus from the time I got here until the time the gun went off," Hollingsworth said. "Since we run this course at region it really gave me an advantage because I know where to speed up and where to slow the pace down."

Finished 32nd

Hollingsworth ran a 21:09.20 in the 5k Class A/AA competition, finishing in 32nd place in a field of 181 runners.

"They were flying," Hollingsworth said. "I ran my best time on this course I have ever run and a few seconds off my personal record, so I'm really happy about how I finished."

Rebecca Story out of the Christian Academy of Knoxville blew away the field, posting a time of 17:49.70, almost two minutes ahead of second place Signal Mountain's Taylor Luthringer's time of 19:02.60.

Story, a junior at CAK turned in the third fastest time the history of the event at Percy Warner Park, 50 seconds behind Kolby Kroeger's (Independence) record of 16:59:45 set in 2006.

Leah Hollingsworth comes through the shoot at the halfway point of the race.

Quick run

"I could see her from where I was and she was way away from the rest of the runners, so she did a fantastic job," Hollingsworth said.

Kroeger also holds the Class A/AA state record with four consecutive titles from 2006-thru-2008.

Hollingsworth, who finished 22nd last year and 42nd in 2014 has one more shot at a podium spot she covets so much, but now she will turn her attention to her junior season on the softball diamond, also coached by Heather Denton.

"I just want to get better and make it back to state and see what I can do," Hollingsworth said. "I feel really proud and really excited because I feel my practices and hard work really pays off."

Leah Hollingsworth runs up the hill and guts out her personal best time on the Steeplechase course.

Strong run

Denton, who believes Hollingsworth's success in the sport has been instrumental in the growth of cross county in Marshall County said about her two-sport star, "Leah looked good and looked strong, even in that last mile where she was still pushing with her strength in her legs and her arms. She is such a good example, a great girl, a great student athlete and great for our cross country team."

"She still has so much potential as a runner and I think if we buckle down and train hard, she will have a chance to get on that podium next year."

Leah Hollingsworth poses with her support group after the race.