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FHS 4 X 800 turns tables, wins state; Hirst, Canter, ‘PR’ in taking second

Talk about a finishing kick. Runners-up to Bearden in three regular season meets, including KIL and the 1-AAA Sectional, Farragut’s 4 X 800 boys turned the tables on the big stage. And won the Class AAA state title.

The Admiral foursome of Thomas Fraser, Chris Wright, Tom Gilmartin and Bryan Mann edged Houston by .10 of a second for the crown (8:05.50 versus 8.05.60), with Bearden taking third (8:06.98) at the state meet in Murfreesboro Friday, May 25.

Meanwhile, two Bearden field event qualifiers each set personal records while finishing No. 2 in Tennessee: sophomore Mary Hirst in the high jump (5-feet-10) and junior Sarah Canter in the discus (128-feet-2).

As for Hirst, “I’ve been dreaming about getting this high for about two years,” she said. “And now that it’s happened it’s a great feeling, landing on that mat and knowing the bar hasn’t fallen and I’ve made five-ten [previous PR, 5-08).

There was another driving factor. “I really wanted to get a state ring, I wanted to get it for my coach, coach [Barry] Faust, this is his last year,” Hirst said about Faust, a track coach for 35 seasons who works with Bearden sprinters and the entire BHS girls team. “He’s been an amazing coach for me. He’s trained me, showed me how to run. He started me out in high jump.

“Coach Faust has been a friend and a coach,” she added. “He’s just an amazing guy. It’s kinda bittersweet, but I’m still really excited.

“I’m really proud of myself, this is the best I’ve ever done.”

Hirst said Faust helped connect her to high jump coaching specialist Danny Lamp, “He’s been showing me form and how to attack the bar, and just leap up as high as I can and get my back arched,” Hirst said.

Hirst, 15, improved eight inches off last year’s 5-foot-2 state meet effort as a freshman. He 2006 PR was 5-foot-6.

The standout sophomore said a year of state experience plus greater physical and mental maturity “helped me tremendously. I’ve been here before, I knew how everything worked.”

Hirst also finished 12th in the triple jump.

Canter was seven inches better than her previous PR of 127-07. “I’m happy,” Canter said. “Second in the state’s good for me.”

As for college after the 2008 season, Canter, 17, said she’s considering Tennessee “because it’s close to home and my mom [Karen Shotwell] went there and my friend [Taylor Rotella] is going there. ...“I haven’t really looked anywhere else. I’ve met the Penn State coach. … I might go out there and look at it.”


Taylor Rotella, Bearden senior thrower and University of Tennessee signee, finished fifth in shot put at 37-feet-1. “I was a little off my P-R [personal record of 37-07], but I’m happy and ready to go to the next level,” Rotella said. “I’m just glad I got a good one out there, and ended on a good note.”

Hunter Fendley, BHS throwing coach, said Rotella’s fifth-place finishing was impressive considering her region runner-up distance was 12th among the state field. “Since the time she started as a sophomore, she improve nine feet,” Fendley said.

Farragut’s 4 X 800 girls relay team of Caroline Sneed, Margo Sneed, Sarah Brinson and Alyssa Dresen took fifth (9:50.95).

Admiral senior Jeremy Walker finished eighth in pole vault (12-06.00) despite missing the rubber tip on one of his poles on all attempts at 10-06, yet clearing on the third and final try before discovering the problem.

A.J. Reust, FHS senior decathlete, took ninth (5,139).


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