Students from Diocese of Knoxville schools joined together this spring to form a Catholic Middle School track team that competed in the Knoxville Independent School League (KISL) Championships on April 28 as well as the Knox County Middle Schools Championships on May 3.
Kathy Wolski, who coaches the middle school team, said St. Mary-Oak Ridge, St. John Neumann, and Sacred Heart middle schools responded to her call for runners, which allowed the team to have about 45 participants.
“It’s inspirational for me to see these runners, some with not a lot of experience, compete against large schools,” she said.
At the KISL Championships, competing against rivals such as Webb and Christian Academy of Knoxville, the Catholic Middle School track team had 15 competitors finish in the top three.
In girls action, Mattie Tisdale finished third in the 200-meter dash; Ellie Wolski finished first in the 400 dash, 800 run, and long jump; Callie Tucker finished second in the 800 run and first in the 1,600 run; Molly Deinhart finished second in the 100 hurdles; Maggie Padgett finished second in the high jump; and members of the 400, 1,600, and 3,200 relay teams placed in the top spots.
In boys competition, Henry Waltman finished first in both the 100 and 200; Riley Smith finished first in the 1,600 and second in the 800; Connor Brunson finished first in the 3,200; and members of the 400 relay team finished in a top spot.
At the Knox County Middle Schools Championships, competing against area mega-schools (including Farragut and Bearden), the Catholic Middle School track team had three competitors finish in the top three.
Ellie Wolski finished first in the 800 and long jump and third in the 400, while Callie Tucker finished first in the 1,600 and second in the 800. Riley Smith finished second in the 1,600.
Ellie, Callie and Riley are ranked amongst the best of the best in the entire state of Tennessee. In the eighth-grade Tennessee state rankings, Ellie is ranked second in the long jump, third in the 800, and fourth in the 400. Callie is ranked third in the 1,600 and fourth in the 800. In the seventh-grade Tennessee state rankings, Riley is ranked third in the 1,600. ■