Lovett, Crum return to lead Bearden cross country after standout seasons as freshmen last year


Photo courtesy of Millie Lovett

Millie Lovett and Cade Crum celebrate with assistant coach Patty Thewes (left) and head coach Ashley Schott (right) after a race last year.

Sophomore cross country runners Millie Lovett and Cade Crum are looking to continue their successful careers as Bearden High School and Knoxville standouts after breakout freshman seasons.

After making it to the Tennessee State Championships in 2021, Lovett placed 29th and Crum placed 13th individually as freshmen, racing against runners of all ages in high school. Making that noticeable of an entrance as freshmen means they won’t sneak up on anybody this season, but they’ve been working hard to make sure they top their debut performances from a year ago.

The Bearden team is striving this season to make it to this year’s state championships on both the boys’ and girls’ sides in addition to improving their individual times. Lovett and Crum hope to make big strides in their 5K race times.

“For sophomore year, I hope to improve my time,” Lovett said. “I want to break 19 minutes and possibly break the school record this year.” 

Other standout runners on the boys’ side include seniors Cash Coggin and Sean Kampas. Additionally, on the girls’ side, Lovett is joined by sophomore Lakin Gettelfinger and senior Elizabeth Cathey.

Coach Ashley Schott hopes the multitude of strong runners on both sides of the team will put in strong performances, in addition to assisting younger runners. 

“We’re kind of looking for that group to help guide some of these younger ones up,” Coach Schott said.

Lovett aspires to run in college with her sights set on a scholarship to Alabama. 

“They have a really great program, and if I were to potentially get fast enough to go there, that would be just a great accomplishment,” Lovett said. 

Crum also has ambitions to run in college and is exploring his options at this stage. 

“I don’t want to rush that because it’ll come,” Crum said.

Preseason for cross country begins in early July with a slow progression from base mileage up to race preparation. The ease into difficult workouts prevents injury and allows runners to challenge themselves in tempo runs, track, and hill workouts. 

“They [Millie and Cade] both put in the work in the summertime, which is sometimes hard to do because you’re doing it individually and on your own,” Coach Schott said. “That really pushes the envelope to make them more successful.”

Lovett and Crum hope their hard work this preseason will pay off when the season officially begins Thursday with a two-mile time trial at Cherokee Farm. 

“It’s not exactly a 5K, but we will be able to see where we are at the two-mile point,” Lovett said. “It’s just a good place to start.”

Now that they have established themselves as standout runners at Bearden, in Knoxville, and in Tennessee, Lovett and Crum are striving to continue their success into their sophomore seasons.

“To be a runner, to be a long-distance runner, you’ve gotta love it,” Coach Schott said. “It definitely takes a special person to want to race long distances. 

“We all have that common interest and common goal.”