By Carey Phillips


Smoky Mountain’s men finished second and the women were third in the annual Watermelon Run hosted by SM last Thursday at the Jackson County Recreation Center in Cullowhee.

“Things went very well,” Coach Adam Phillips said. “We had a lot of personal bests, especially on the boys side.”

The coach said Caleb Phillips finished under 18 minutes for the first time, and Coleman Hopfinger took several seconds off his previous best time for the men. He added that Lydia Norman had her best showing for the women.

“It was a great meet with perfect atmosphere,” Coach Phillips said. “Our kids are really improving and are heading in the right direction.”

Owen won the men’s meet with 33 points to 61 for the Mustangs. Franklin was third at 88, followed by Hayesville (119), East Henderson (133), Pisgah (148), North Henderson (154) and Rabun Gap, Georgia (183).

SM’s Caleb Phillips and Parker Smith were fifth and sixth with times of 17:47.92 and 18:06.4, respectively. Completing the Mustangs’ top five were:

Zeb Mathis, 10th, 18:33.79; Hopfinger, 20th, 19:32.34; and Aidan Menickelli, 26th, 19:53.84.

Tuscola swept the top five positions for a perfect score of 15 to win the women’s meet. Franklin was second with 70 points, followed by SM (85), Owen (111), North Henderson (113) and East Henderson (153).

Maia Wilde led the Lady Mustangs as she was 11th in 22:42.62. Lily Buenting was one spot back in 12th in 22:57.99. Rounding out SM’s top five were:

Vanessa Saldago, 18th, 23:35.01; Norman, 27th, 24:47.62; and Morgana McCullough, 31st, 25:19.05.