Great Eight meet filled with drama, surprises

Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 2:36am

Brentwood High senior Mary Cumbee, named the girls MVP of the meet

Seeing the finish line coming up on the horizon means much more to Grace Stumb than the usual runner. That’s because the Harpeth Hall junior distance runner, who has fought asthma for the better part of two years, won the girls 800 meter run in the Great Eight meet Wednesday at MBA, collapsing in fatigue just as she crossed the line.

“It’s something (asthma) I’ve been dealing with since I was a freshman,’’ Stumb said after running a personal best 2:21.94 on the MBA track to edge Brentwood Academy’s Caylyn Harvey. “I’ve been feeling better lately. I just have to push myself in the last lap, and it’s a big motivation when I see that finish line. I’m hoping to run under 2:20 if I get to state.’’

The meet brought together runners and field event participants from the Midstate area who have compiled the eight best times and distances so far this spring.

Brentwood High senior Mary Cumbee, named the girls MVP of the meet, easily won her specialty — the 3,200-meter run — zipping to a meet record 11:20.78, breaking the meet record by almost three seconds and breezing to a 30-meter win.

Cumbee broke another BHS runner’s record, Jill Skinner who ran an 11:23 in 2004. But amazingly, it wasn’t even her personal best this spring, as she had an 11:17 earlier.

“I wasn’t expecting it (breaking the record),’’ said Cumbee, who has signed to run track and cross country at UT-Chattanooga. “Hopefully I can carry this on to state. I finished sixth last year, hopefully I can bring home first this year.’’

Standout Macon County distance runner Brandon Mahaney and LaVergne’s Terry Hodges each won two events, and were named boys co-MVPs of the meet.

Hahaney won the 1,600 and 800, and Hodges leaped to wins in the long jump and triple jump.

Sweet, sweet Musick: Lipscomb High senior Jeff Musick raced to a personal best 9:44.01 to win a tightly contested boys 3200 race.

“I really ran well,’’ said Musick who will continue to run track and cross country for Lipscomb U. “I guess I was pretty fortunate that (Jake Rainey of Rossview, who had by far the best time at 9:17) was a scratch.

“I’m looking to run the 1,600 and 3,200 in state, and my goal is for a sub-9:40 time,’’ he added.

USN’s Lavender shines: Wispy 5’-4” USN sophomore Jordan Lavender won the girls 400 meter race by more than 10 meters as she breezed to a personal best 56.66.

“I’m aiming to run for all three at state, the 100, 200 and 400,’’ said Lavender, one of the top sprinters in USN history. “Last year, I ran just the 100 and 200, but this year, it’s no limit,’’ she said, smiling. She also plays soccer in the fall.

Cane Ridge romp: One of the most impressive winners was Cane Ridge sophomore Janetra Gleaves who won the girls 300 hurdles by about 10 meters.

“Running track is a talent that I have, and I’ve run ever since the eighth grade,’’ said Gleaves who also does the long jump. “Hopefully, I’m helping to put Cane Ridge on the map in track.’’

Cunningham Bam: Goodpasture speedster Benjamin Cunningham was a surprise winner in the boys 100 in 10:80, edging BA’s Derek King and Stratford’s DeAngelo Gray.

“That was a personal best,’’ said Cunningham, a Cougar football standout. “My starts have been much better lately, hopefully I can carry that to state.’’

No Sales: One disappointment came when Hillsboro’s Quanisha Sales was unable to run the girls 100 due to a slight hamstring pull in a race won by East Lit’s Veonka Manning.

Sales, who broke a 43-year-old meet 100-meter record last Friday in winning the City Championships in 11:88 at Harpeth Hall, is said to return shortly.

Finally: Hunters Lane sophomore Michelle Cuming won the girls shot put, but couldn’t put up a double as she finished third in the discus.

BGA junior Madeline Cross won the girls 200. MBA senior Wesley Johnson took the boys shot put.

The DII pentathlon and decathlon events are next Monday and Tuesday at MBA.