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SFTC inducts first Hall of Fame class; Jones, Neglia take home awards

Tanner Cook • Jan 13, 2019 at 9:05 PM

JONESBOROUGH — The State of Franklin Track Club celebrated its 40th year in existence on Saturday night with its annual awards banquet at David Crockett.

The evening included a potluck dinner, an awards ceremony honoring the accomplishments of a multitude of athletes and the inaugural SFTC Hall of Fame inductions.

Near the end of the evening, the Outstanding High School Runners were announced. Sasha Neglia of Dobyns-Bennett won the girls’ award for the second consecutive year and Science Hill’s Jeb Jones received the honors for the boys.

Neglia had an outstanding cross country season, finishing the year off with All-America honors at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon, after recording a 17:18 personal best earlier in the season. The junior won the Big 11 and Region I titles for the third consecutive year.

On the track, she won her first outdoor state title in the 1,600 and finished second in the 3,200 last spring. 

At the Music City Distance Carnival in June, she finished second in the race while running the second-fastest time ever for prep runner from Tennessee. Neglia crossed the line for the full mile in 4:50.69.

Jones, who will be attending Samford in Birmingham, Alabama, in the fall, has Big 11 and Region I cross country titles under his belt from the past season. He placed fifth at the TSSAA cross country championships.

On the track, Jones owns a highly decorated resume, having run 4:15.14 for 1,600 meters and 1:57.02 for 800 meters. At the state meet last spring, he finished third in the 1,600 and eighth in the 800, both times earning all-state.

To form the Hall of Fame, the club took aspects from the Knoxville Track Club and New Orleans Track Club. Induction requires meeting several criteria, including service and contribution to the club and/or area running community, outstanding athletic performance, longtime participation in club events and providing inspiration.

The first class comprises five members who have made a variety of contributions to the Tri-Cities running community.

• Dr. Michael L. Woodruff was one of the club’s chief founders and donated much of his time to seeing it grow and develop during its infancy. He was treasurer in 1982, president in 1984 and the newsletter editor from 1982-86.

He was instrumental in helping Johnson City earn the designation of “Best Running City in America” in 1984. He was the Road Runners Club of America National Volunteer of the Year in 1990 and helped direct over 60 races for the club.

He is also highly accomplished in the academic world, earning the East Tennessee State University Foundation Research Award in August 1990. He is the author of more than 120 professional publications and was named professor emeritus in biomedical sciences at the Quillen College of Medicine at ETSU.

• Ben Chaney was president of the club in 1988 and membership leader in 1993.

He was a course measurer from 1988 to 2000, accurately marking 37 separate routes, including the original Crazy 8’s 8K path before it finished inside J. Fred Johnson Stadium. He was also race director for one year each at Crazy 8’s and at the Eastman 10K Road Race.

Chaney was one of the first King & Queen coordinators and did most of the calculations on his Apple II computer.

• David Fox was the race director for the Eastman Road Race for 18 years.

Fox built the original Runscore website, the predecessor of the now-popular Electronic B-tag timing system, which is used at many of the world’s largest races. He was the original builder of the club’s website and continues to provide support.

The club’s volunteer of the year three times and president in 2006, Fox founded the website of Tennessee state running records.

• Hank Brown is best known as the co-founder and longtime race director — 29 years — of the Crazy 8’s 8K in Kingsport. The race previously held the road world records for both men and women and helped put Kingsport on the map in the eyes of elite runners. The race holds the women’s record to this day.

Brown served on the USATF Men’s and Women’s Long Distance Running Championship Committees and was the team manager for the World Cup Marathon in Greece and the Yokohama Ekiden in Japan.

He served on the Kingsport Greenbelt Committee and was instrumental in opening several new sections.

In 2010, Brown, along with his wife, Natalie Whitlock, started We Run Events, an event management company that puts on a number of races throughout the area. He was president in 1991 and race director of the year in both 1990 and 1993.

• Harriet R. Locke was a beloved member of the club who passed away on May 4, 2015. She and Hubert Hill helped start the club in 1978.

She won the Queen of the Road title a club-record 12 times and holds 23 Tennessee state age group records ranging from 1 mile to the half-marathon. She ran more than 700 races.

Locke completed 19 marathons around the world and segment-hiked the entire 2,184 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

She was a schoolteacher for 30 years and was a Peace Corps educator in Nepal and the Philippines from 1992-97.