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Neglia, D-B girls four-peat in Trailblazer Invitational

Tanner Cook • Oct 12, 2019 at 8:21 PM

GRAY — The annual Trailblazer Invitational at Daniel Boone has been running continuously for the better part of a half-century.

Saturday’s 47th edition provided another piece of history for one of Northeast Tennessee’s all-time greats.

Dobyns-Bennett senior standout Sasha Neglia won the varsity girls race in a meet-record 17:35.1 for 5 kilometers, her fourth consecutive victory in the cross country race. She also held the previous Trailblazer record of 18:09.3.

Neglia, whose time was just off her course-record 17:20 set during last season’s regional meet, joined Angie Culbertson (Sullivan Central, 1987-90) and Lesley Whitehead (Sullivan South, 1981-84) as the only runners to “four-peat” in the Trailblazer. No male runner has won the varsity race four years in a row.

“I really love running this course and it’s always a good time,” Neglia said. “This course is so close to home and we all know the course pretty well. I feel like I do better when the course is tougher and I know I’m tough enough to do it.”

The race was Neglia’s first in three weeks because she’s been preoccupied with official collegiate visits. She recently committed to North Carolina but also took visits to Princeton, Duke and North Carolina State.

“The coaches were amazing and the team vibe was great. I felt like I really fit in there,” she said of UNC.

Neglia led the Lady Indians to a fourth straight team title. D-B had 43 points to easily outdistance Watauga of Boone, North Carolina, with 81.

All of the Tribe’s scoring five finished inside the top 30 with a team average of 19:34.0. Emma Russum was the runner-up, finishing in 19:18.3, and Julianna McReynolds was fourth overall (19:33.8). Freshman Autumn Headrick was next across the line in 20:04.7 in ninth and Gracie Allen was 28th in 21:18.4.

“The girls have been good all year,” D-B coach Bob Bingham said. “This is the first time that we’ve been back in the hills of East Tennessee in a while and I think we handled it very well. Our first three did really well today and our top five have been consistent all year. Four of them are seniors, so we expect that out of them.”

Other locals finishing inside the top 25 were Daniel Boone freshman Kamryn Wingfield (19:48.0, eighth), Sullivan East sophomore Mandy Lowery (20:12.7, 10th), David Crockett junior Rachel Dulaney (20:21.7, 11th) and Boone’s Patricia Chellah (20:30.2, 12th).


Boone’s Conner Wingfield has had a standout sophomore campaign after having his track season cut short by injury in the spring.

On Saturday, Wingfield impressed with a third-place showing and a sparkling personal best of 16:17.6. His team placed second — finishing behind Watauga — with 78 points.

“Overall, I thought my race was really good. I hung right with the first two runners and that was the plan. I just didn’t have the leg speed down the stretch,” Wingfield said. “I beat the virtual meet projections and the team did, too. We’re pretty happy about that.”

Madden Muhammad of Myers Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, won the individual title in 16:12.1, outsprinting Watauga’s Avery Cannon of Pride Park onto the softball field to win by a two-second margin.

The ’Blazers averaged 17:12.0, and all of their scoring five were in the top 25. Behind Wingfield were freshman Bryson Lewis (17:23.6, 16th), Keaton Smith (17:25.0, 18th), Max Austin (17:25.5, 19th) and Mason Lewis (17:28.7, 22nd).

Union ventured across the state line and performed well against schools nearly two or three times its size. The Bears were fifth on a course they’d never seen before. Led by Tanner Cusano’s 16:53.7, good for eighth overall, they posted a team average of 17:38.8.

Other locals in the top 15 were Bristol Cross champion Austin Kirkpatrick (16:24.3, fifth), a senior at Cherokee, and Union’s Nathaniel Hersel (16:58.7, 10th).

47th Trailblazer Invitational 5K

At Daniel Boone, Gray


1 Dobyns-Bennett 43, 2 Watauga 81, 3 Myers Park 98, 4 Daniel Boone 106, 5 David Crockett 152, 6 Hardin Valley 183, 7 Asheville 191, 8 Morristown West 232, 9 Knox Catholic 281, 10 Abingdon 335, 11 University High 364, 12 Polk County 372, 13 Sullivan East 373, 14 Union 407, 15 George Wythe 415, 16 Sullivan Central 431, 17 Tennessee High 467, 18 George Rogers Clark 473, 19 Jefferson County 480, 20 Volunteer 499, 21 Graham 547, 22 Happy Valley 598.


1 Sasha Neglia (D-B) 17:35.1, 2 Emma Russum (D-B) 19:18.3, 3 Callie Tucker (Catholic) 19:32.6, 4 Julianna McReynolds (D-B) 19:33.8, 5 Sophia Ritter (Watauga) 19:43.0, 6 Julianne Dodson (MoWest) 19:46.1, 7 Olivia McNulty (Watauga) 19:47.4, 8 Kamryn Wingfield (Boone) 19:48.0, 9 Autumn Headrick (D-B) 20:04.7, 10 Mandy Lowery (SE) 20:12.7, 11 Rachel Dulaney (DC) 20:21.7, 12 Patricia Chellah (Boone) 20:30.2, 13 Lily Pareso (Myers Park) 20:37.9, 14 Adele Williams (Asheville) 20:40.3 15 Gwendolyn Anderson (Watauga) 20:42.8.


1 Watauga 40, 2 Daniel Boone 78, 3 Hardin Valley 92, 4 Myers Park 125, 5 Union 152, 6 Morristown West 178, 7 Dobyns-Bennett 224, 8 George Wythe 306, 9 Abingdon 347, 10 Sevier County 348, 11 Sullivan East 362, 12 Knox Catholic 363, 13 Volunteer 410, 14 University High 434, 15 Greeneville 440, 16 West Greene 456, 17 Sullivan Central 460, 18 Jefferson County 473, 19 Tennessee High 516, 20 ACTS Warriors 535, 21 Cherokee 535, 22 David Crockett 569, 23 Elizabethton 572, 24 Unicoi County 657, 25 Polk County 719, 26 Morristown East 744, 27 Providence Academy 750, 28 South Greene 835.


1 Madden Muhammad (Myers Park) 16:12.1, 2 Avery Cannon (Watauga) 16:14.5, 3 Conner Wingfield (Boone) 16:17.6, 4 Gavin Sweeney (Watauga) 16:21.6, 5 Austin Kirkpatrick (Cherokee) 16:24.3, 6 Kaden Keller (Hardin Valley) 16:47.2, 7 Caleb Coatney (Watauga) 16:51.4, 8 Tanner Cusano (Union) 16:53.7, 9 Nathaniel Hersel (Union) 16:58.7, 10 Nathan Hillis (Hardin Valley) 17:09.7, 11 Christian Henry (MoWest) 17:11.2, 12 Dylan Canipe (Myers Park) 17:17.3, 13 Korben Anderson (Watauga) 17:18.1, 14 Ethan Turner (Watauga) 17:19.4, 15 Caleb Cox (Watauga) 17:22.5.

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