By Mike Blackerby
Meet the 2020 All-5Star Preps Cross Country Coaches of the Year:
- Boys Coach of the Year: Bryan Brown (Hardin Valley)
- Girls Coach of the Year: Chelsea Osborne (Farragut)
Here’s why they were selected.
Boys Coach of the Year: Bryan Brown of Hardin Valley
Hardin Valley’s boys lived up to their billing – and then some – at the state Division I Large Schools state cross-country championships.
So much so that the Hawks should be included in the conversation as one of the state’s top boys teams ever.
HVA scored 33 points to post a 101-point win earlier this month over second-place Franklin on the Sanders Ferry Parkway in Hendersonville, TN.
“We stack up with anybody,” said Brown, the 5Star Preps boys cross-country Coach of the Year.
Brown said the Hawks compare favorably to the Brentwood powerhouse that won the 2016 state championship.
The Bruins, led by Brody Haste and Taylor Vroon, scored 29 points and won by 103 points over runner-up Wilson Central.
“As an overall team this is the best team we’ve ever had here,” said Brown, whose boys also won the 2010 state cross-country title.
“We’ve had a lot of good teams and individual runners, but overall top to bottom this is the top team we’ve had.”
Few teams in the state’s largest class have ever placed four runners in the top 10 at the state meet, but the Hawks did just that.
Kaden Keller was fourth, Andrew Schultz sixth, Nathan Hillis seventh and Mitchell McCown 10th.
With seven of their top 10 runners returning next season, watch out for the Hawks in 2021.
HVA will likely be prohibitive favorites to successfully defend their team championship next season.
“We’ve got a lot of guys back,” said Brown.
“The key is to stay healthy and keep improving. All of these guys, Kaden included, should still have their best running days ahead of them.”
Girls Coach of the Year: Chelsea Osborne of Farragut
The team chemistry was off the charts.
The drive to succeed came from within.
And along the way, Farragut’s girls managed to enjoy their ride to a runner-up finish in the Division I Large Class state championships.
“With this team, they just had fun,” said Chelsea Osborne, the 5Star Preps girls cross-country Coach of the Year.
“This team worked hard and they put everything into their races, but they enjoy the sport and just having fun.”
The Lady Admirals were not only a tightly knit team, they were also tightly bunched on the race course throughout the season.
Farragut’s first five girls at the state meet all finished in under 20 minutes.
Competition was fierce, but so was the team’s camaraderie.
That’s not always a given, explained Osborne, who ran in both high school and college and well understands team dynamics.
“You’re always going to have an internal competition – and that’s OK – but you’ve got to make sure it’s not eating the team up from the inside,” said Osborne.
Seniors Caroline Carr and Cathy Hu were prime examples of team players this season, according to Osborne.
“I give them a lot of credit for where these girls are,” said Osborne.
Carr overcame a slow start to the season, rebounded and led by example the rest of the way.
“She never let that defeat her,” said Osborne.
“She has always been a leader. There was a fire in her that sparked the other girls.”
The Lady Admirals, who have registered two second-place state finishes in the past three years, were just 11 points behind state champion Brentwood.
Farragut returns eight of its top-10 runners next season and the Lady Admirals should be among the state favorites once again.
“That’s the hope,” said Osborne.
“It’s a matter of keeping everybody healthy and just keeping that momentum.”