MORRISTOWN—Morgan Blazer added yet another medal to her comeback story. And this time, one of her senior teammates joined her.
Madison Dockery, who had poked at a top-10 finish in years past, broke through and accomplished the feat of earning All-Conference honors in her senior year.
Although admittedly nervous at first, Dockery realized her goal was within reach as she sprinted down the final hill at Panther Creek State Park in Thursday’s Inter Mountain Athletic Conference 5K race. Once she heard a spectator shout that she was ninth place, all she had to do was maintain her spot down the home stretch.
By crossing the finish line in 22:52.41, Dockery secured the All-IMAC honors which had so narrowly eluded her grasp before.
“That was my goal to finish in the top 10. When I realized I did get it, I was overcome with joy because I’m a senior and it’s my last chance. It was really amazing,” Dockery said. “I definitely pushed myself a lot harder training-wise and I ate a lot healthier. It’s bittersweet, but I’m excited that I got to go through this with all my friends.”
As for Blazer, she followed up her fourth-place finish in this season’s Panther Creek All-Comers 5K by placing third on Thursday night, finishing with a time of 21:56.21 to earn All-Conference accolades.
Not bad, considering the injury she sustained her sophomore year left Blazer wondering if she would ever be able to run at full strength again.
Although her coach had advised her against participating in the Panther Creek All-Comers race, Blazer was adamant that she was ready. After finishing fourth on the same course which she would later finish third in the IMAC, Blazer removed all doubt that she was back. Thus, her All-Conference finish on Thursday night was no surprise.
“After several weeks of practice, I physically felt better and felt faster. I just felt more confident in not getting hurt,” Blazer said. “Just the most important thing for me was just to rely on God. I know it was in his plan.”
Although the Lady Red didn’t post a team score with just four runners participating, CCHS coach Mark Hawk felt reason to be optimistic.
Part of that had to do with Kylie Stokes placing 22nd with a time of 26:51.92, and he believes she’ll still be running even after she graduates CCHS.
“Very determined runner, strong runner,” Hawk said of Stokes. “I feel like if she wants to, she could probably find a home and continue her cross country somewhere (in college), and I’m going to encourage her to do that.”
Chelsea Kelley represented Cocke County by placing 28th with a time of 29:16.62.
Sevier County (27) edged Morristown West (32) for the team championship with all five of its runners placing in the top 12. Morristown West’s Julianne Dodson (19:45.09) easily took home first place individually, cruising to victory by nearly two minutes.
Cocke County’s boys placed seventh as Derek Driskill (49th, 21:53.65) paced the Big Red. Will Cureton (54th, 22:07.40), Kanan Wise (65th, 23:25.13), Cole Freshour (67th, 23:32.40) and Ashton Thornton (68th, 23:33.64) rounded out the Big Red’s team total of 192.
With four runners placing in the top 10, Morristown West rolled to victory with a team score of 37 points with Sevier County (60) placing second. Austin Kirkpatrick (17:09.95) cruised across the finish line 35 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor to once again top the IMAC.
CCHS will participate in next week’s Region 1 Large School Division Cross Country meet, with start time set for 1 p.m. on Thursday at Daniel Boone High School in Gray.