Owen coaches weigh in on state championship seasons
It was a historic season for Owen sports.
The boys cross-country team won a state championship for the first time since 2008 and, for the first time in school history, the boys soccer team brought home the 2A state championship.
Cross-country coach Bob Sadlemire said the team ended stronger than they started.
Last year, the cross-country team landed in third place in the state behind Lincoln Charter and Brevard and were ranked around the same placement this year.
“All through the season up until the regional event, we were ranked second behind Lincoln Charter, and we beat them in the regional meet,” Sadlemire said. “Of course we beat them again in the state meet.”
In the state meet, the Warhorses earned 83 points, beating Lincoln Charter’s second place of 91 points.
Sadlemire said the team was sick going into the state meet and he had accepted the fact they probably were not going to be state champions.
“Given that we were all sick, my brain was wrapped around second place,” Sadlemire said. “I wasn’t going to tell the kids that, but I didn’t think we were going to win the event. Some of the kids … really came through. That’s how we won it, really.”
Sadlemire said the teammates were close with one another, which he thinks helped them with winning.
“We just have a great close-knit team, and they work really hard together as a team,” Sadlemrie said. “That’s what did it. We have a lot of depth, and I think they’re very close as a crew.”
Boys soccer coach Trei Morrison said his team was close as well and worked together in a way that translated into wins.
Owen’s soccer season started off with a change as former coach David Fiest moved after the first two games.
Morrison said the team had to get used to him and the way he wanted to play, but the transition did not take long.
“They bought into the main things that we wanted to do, and we talked on the very first day about playing with intensity from start to finish and maintaining our focus throughout the game,” Morrison said. “I thought that was what really came to the fore.”
The soccer team's state championship ended after 110 minutes of play with a penalty kick by senior Harrison Kendall.
Morrison said the championship game was the perfect example of playing with intensity from start to finish, but he said he was not nervous about the outcome.
“It was weird,” Morrison said. “I think it was sort of a sense of calm. I just had faith in the boys. I knew that they were locked in. I knew that they had the tools that it took to win, and they proved me right.”
Both teams are looking to fill the role of several seniors leaving this year.
Sadlemire said he hopes the participation next year is as high as it was this year. If it is, he said he thinks the Warhorses could be in the top “three or four” in the state.
Morrison said he has started watching game film and trying to decide on how best to move on without the seniors he is losing.
Despite these losses, both Morrison and Sadlemire said the were looking forward to the future. They also said the appreciate the community and recognition the teams got this year and hope it continues.
“I just appreciate the community,” Morrison said. “The school community, the kids, the faculty and staff at Owen High School and the people of Black Mountain. They just opened arms and took us in and followed us all the way through. That just meant the world to me, and I’m really, really proud to be part of a program that has such a staunch following.”