Lady Cyclones win Region 1-A/AA cross country meet

Published 11:19 pm Thursday, October 29, 2015

By Matt Hill


GRAY — Last year the Elizabethton High School Girls’ Cross Country program advanced to the state meet for the first time in school history.

This year, the Lady Cyclones made history again.

The Lady Cyclones won Thursday’s Region 1-A/AA meet and not only advanced to state again, but they won the school’s first Region Championship at Daniel Boone High School.

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Heather Feuchtenberger was fourth at 22:23.1, Maci Shell was fifth at 22:30.2, Emily Schubert tallied a seventh place finish 22:31.9 and Lauren Pilkton was ninth with a time of 22:46.4. Makayla Newman also placed, coming in 23rd with a time of 24:48. Those times gave Elizabethton four top-10 runners in the region and landed Elizabethton a regional title and a ticket to the state meet in Nashville next Saturday.

The team is comprised of girls who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some participate in extra-curricular activities like band; and Schubert, as an example, is known as a member the Elizabethton girls basketball team.

Probably close to setting a school record for state appearances by one athlete, Schubert has gone to the state seven times in three sports. But she doesn’t take qualifying for such a prestigious event lightly, she said.

“It’s awesome to know that I have the ability,” Schubert said.  “My teammates in every sport I do support me and push me hard every day. It’s great. It never gets old.”

“I am very tall so the fact that I can do so many different things is awesome. God has definitely blessed me,” she added.

The Lady Cyclones leaned on one another to be able to have such an awesome day and win the region championship, she said.

“Our goal was to stick together and push as hard as we could,” Schubert said. “Just seeing Heather and Maci in front of me just made me go harder.”

Feuchtenberger has said all year that this team was going to win a region championship and yesterday, the Lady Cyclones made it happen.

It may have surprised some how dominating their performance was, but not Feuchtenberger. She believed the whole time.

“We wanted to win regionals and that was our goal, and we did it,” Feuchtenberger said. “We have worked so hard and we wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have each other and if we weren’t so blessed. We pushed each other and that is the only reason we are where we are.

“I never imagined being a part of a group that is so close,” she added.  “I go to church and we are close, but that is nothing like what this team has. We are so close and so blessed. We are like family. We would do anything for each other and that’s what helps us the most.

Feuchtenberger also feels having a coach like Amber Abel has pushed this team over the top.

“It feels so amazing and we were so blessed to get Coach Abel,” said Feuchtenberger. “She gave us a lot of things we didn’t agree with, but now she has made us so much stronger and things have worked perfectly.”

Shell won the Region individually last year, but has faced some great challenges in 2015 in running that were unexpected. Through it all, Shell says she is happy to be part of this squad and see her teammates rally around her.

“I have had a tougher year, but running is tough,” said Shell. “You just have to keep pushing through. Everyone hits a rough sport every now and then. It makes it difficult, but that’s why I like it, because you have to push yourself and be dedicated. And even though it’s not quite  a team sport like basketball, it still takes working as a team. It is super important to love each other and care about each other. We are super blessed.

“Winning region is a bigger thing than anything an individual can do and a bigger success than any individual can do,” she added.

The final goal for EHS is to bring home a team state title, but Shell said they are just happy to be going.

“Winning state would be very great,” said Shell. “It’s just an honor to make it as a team.”