West End’s Battles highlights All-Messenger girls cross country


Photo by Alex Chaney

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Paten Battles made quite an impression during her first season running high school cross country.
The West End sophomore finished in the top five in all six of her meets, including three first-place showings. Battles saved he best for last at the AHSAA state meet in early November when she placed third out of 150 runners in Class 1A-2A while setting. PR at 19:26.66. Her performance helped the Lady Patriots finish third out of 15 teams at the AHSAA state meet.
“It felt really good to do so well in first year of running,” said Battles in a previous interview with The Messenger. “Our coach (Jessica Tarpely) really trains us hard, and she’s always telling us that if we believe as a team, we’ll go far. We’re losing a pretty good runner (in senior Kaylee Tarpley) but the rest of us are pretty young, so hopefully our times will all improve.”
Battles was the only local female high school runner to break the 20-minute mark this season, leading to her being named the Runner of the Year of 2023 All-Messenger girls cross country team.
“I love watching Paten in action, and her determination and grit have not gone unnoticed,” said Tarpley. “This young lady brings so much to our team, not only her quickness and athleticism but her goofy and contagious personality, her drive and, most importantly, her humbleness. Paten has the biggest heart, and she’s always on hand to cheer and encourage her teammates. We’re so honored to have Paten as a part of our cross country family.”

All Messenger girls cross county

Runner of the Year: Paten Battles, West End

Coaches of the Year: Jessica Tarpley and T.J. Tarpley, West End

First team
Paten Battles, sophomore, West End: 19:26.56
Sarah Ponder, freshman, Glencoe: 20:23.86
Emma Godfrey, 8th grade, Hokes Bluff: 20:53.77
Marlee Tucker, 8th grade, Southside: 21:07.13
Taylor Dortch, junior, Southside: 21:12. 26
Second team
Taylor Knight, senior, Ashville: 21:14.33
Mallory Tucker, sophomore, Southside: 21:27.85
Allie Cone, 8th grade, Ashville: 21:28.53
Kaylee Tarpley, senior, West End: 21:30.70
Karlee Tarpley, sophomore, West End: 21:32.93
Third team
Kennedi Nix, 7th grade, West End: 21:56.29
Adalyn Phillips, junior, Southside: 22:01.90
Carolina Rainey, 7th grade, West End: 22:05.49
Marissa Bozarth, 8th grade, Sardis: 22:17.49
Lucy Valentine, seventh grade, Southside: 22:29.52
Honorable Mention
Molly Northam, senior, Ashville: 22:31.95
Payton Ridley, junior, Southside: 23:02.95
Maddie Kate Chandler, freshman, Southside: 23:13
Zoie Menk, junior, Southside: 23:33.00
Jada Wright, sophomore, West End: 23:51.40

Editor’s note: Selections to the All-Messenger cross country team were based on season PRs. Not all schools in The Messenger’s coverage area had runners who qualified.


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