By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain senior Tyler Watterson and freshman Lily Buenting competed in Saturday’s State 2-A Cross Country Meet at Kernersville.
Watterson finished 40th among 162 runners in 17:23.18 in the men’s meet.
“That’s a little slower than what he’s been running on average, but weather may have had something to do with,” Coach Pam Shuler said. “Also, he had a cold earlier in the week. I thought he did fantastic. He looked really good running.
“It was a beautiful day with great weather,” she added. “It was a little chilly but far better than some of the other years at the state championship.”
Watterson competed at state for the fourth straight year and holds the school record of 16:44.
“He has performed outstandingly for our cross country team for four years,” Shuler said.
Buenting placed 73rd out of 152 runners for the women in 22:00.66.
“As a freshman, Lily has really shined this year,” Shuler said. “I don’t think she knew what she could do as a runner. She outperformed everyone’s expectations.”
The coach said Buenting’s time was about a minute slower than what she had been running the past couple of weeks.
Shuler said being young and inexperienced was a factor.
“It was also a little cooler than it had been by the time she ran,” Shuler said. “The change in temperature could have had an effect on her muscles.
“She had a great year,” Shuler said. “I’m excited about what the future holds for her. I think she has tremendous potential.”
North Lincoln won the men’s meet, and Carrboro took the women’s title.
Jason Thomson (15:40.66) and Angie Allen (18:42.23), both of North Lincoln, were individual winners.