The Knoxville Catholic High School boys track-and-field team proved at the state meet that a small roster can provide big results.
With five runners providing most all of the scoring, the Fighting Irish outpointed Nashville Maplewood 66.5 to 55 to win their second straight state championship, against a 63-team field May 26 in Murfreesboro.
The Lady Irish of KCHS placed sixth out of 49 teams in the girls meet. University of Tennessee commitment Georde Goodwyn, who captured the boys cross country crown in the fall, won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the state track meet, and the Irish captured the 3,200 relay title for the fourth straight year. The team championship gave the Irish four consecutive titles covering the 2015-16 and 2016-17 cross country and track seasons.
The Irish runners – seniors Goodwyn and James Daffron, juniors Devin Sullivan and Ethan Tornstrom, and sophomore Jake Renfree – along with pole-vaulter John Rentenbach, a sophomore, outscored a much larger Maplewood team that crowded the second-place podium.
Goodwyn anchored the 3,200 relay team that also consisted of Daffron, Tornstrom, and Renfree, winning in 8 minutes, 17.66 seconds, to out-distance a Craigmont foursome by more than 5 seconds.
Goodwyn (4:31.20) edged teammate Renfree (4:32.74) by a second and a half to win the 1,600 run. Goodwyn triumphed in the 800 run in 1:58.51, beating his good friend Timothy Thacker of Knoxville Grace Christian by only 0.46 seconds. Goodwyn hadn’t beaten Thacker in the 800 all season until the state finals.
In the 3,200 run, Renfree (10:05.39) won a state championship with Sullivan (10:09.66) placing second and Goodwyn (10:22.46) third as KCHS racked up 24 points in that event alone.
Goodwyn ran four races that day at the state meet and was looking to become only the ninth boy in state history across all classifications to win a mythical triple crown with titles in the 800, 1,600, and 3,200. Other than Rebekah Story of Christian Academy of Knoxville (who generated 32.5 points for her team’s fourth-place finish), no one at the 2017 Spring Fling State Championships earned more points than Goodwyn’s 28.5 points for his team’s first-place finish.
Rentenbach cleared 12 feet even in the pole vault to tie a Christ Presbyterian vaulter for fourth place in the event.
The Lady Irish’s 3,200 relay team placed second in the state in a time of 9:35.01, just behind a CAK quartet (9:34.24).
KCHS freshman Callie Tucker (11:19.44) and junior Shila Kapaya (11:27.25) took third and fourth in the 3,200 run. Tucker (5:16.99) and Kapaya (5:17.14) placed fourth and fifth in the 1,600 run.
Freshman Ellie Wolski recorded a sixth-place time of 2:21.02 in the 800 run.
The KCHS girls also scored in the 1,600 relay with a fourth-place clocking of 4:08.98.
In the pole vault, freshman Eleni Christopoulos topped 7 feet, 6 inches, to place sixth in the event for the Lady Irish.