By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Five Pulaski County teams came away with first place finishes in their respective races on Saturday morning in the Southern Harrier Classic at GE Field.
The girls elementary, girls middle school, boys middle school, girls varsity, and boys varsity teams defended their home course in fine-fashion, as they each claimed the top spot in their respective races.
In the boys varsity race, the Pulaski County Maroons outlasted Wayne County by a score of 23 to 42, to claim the top spot in the team standings. Southwestern and Somerset did not have enough five runners, so they failed to field a full team in the race.
Maroon head coach Dave Evans was really pleased the effort that his team showed in Saturday's meet at GE Field. Evans hopes that performance will carry over to this weekend's meet in Louisville.
"Our team made good strides this weekend and it was a good win, I am very proud of them," told Evans. "We had a plan to focus on our time gap from 1-5 and we showed that we are capable of doing it by posting a 55-second time gap. This is the kind of effort we need each Saturday especially against stronger fields. We head to Trinity this weekend and we need to duplicate our time gap this weekend and see where we stack up against some of the best teams from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio."
Maroon senior Mason Blevins continued his successful career at GE Field, as he was the first runner to cross the finish line in the 5,000-meter race. Blevins' winning time was 17:11.
Morgan Stevens, Blevins' teammate, claimed the runner-up spot in the race, finishing second with a time of 17:28. Southwestern junior Jordan Carrington outlasted Pulaski County freshman Brennan Perkins to earn a fifth place finish.
Another pair of Maroons -- Austin Hyden and Sam Smith -- finished inside the top ten, as Hyden finished eighth and Smith came home in the ninth position.
"Mason Blevins ran a good race and it was a nice win for him," continued Evans. "Morgan Stevens and Austin Hyden showed what they are capable of and we need this effort from them each week. But our freshman, Brennan Perkins and Sam Smith, ran great and they're continued improvement is very impressive and looks good for our team's future.
Just like the boys varsity race, it was a Pulaski County-Wayne County one-two finish in the girls varsity race. The Lady Maroons defeated the Wayne County by 30 points (45 to 75) to bring home the first place trophy.
It was another one-two finish for Pulaski County in the race, as freshman Alyssa Hyden won the race and set a new course record, while seventh-grader Devin Mayfield crossed the line in the second position. Hyden's winning time was 21:00, while Mayfield clocked in at 21:25.
Another Lady Maroon, Sydney New, finished inside the top ten, as the sophomore finished eighth in the 3.1-mile race with time of 21:13. Ashley Phelps, who was Southwestern's top finisher, rounded out the top ten with a clocking of 23:49.
Lady Maroon head coach Nancy New was proud of the way her team ran on Saturday, a meet that she called the best one her team had run so far this year. In fact, six of the seven Lady Maroon runners set new personal records.
"As a team, we finished stronger than we have all season," stated New. "We ran mentally tough and focused. As a team, we closed gaps all day. We are very proud of these girls. Our first to fifth runners ran tighter together, giving us better finish times than we’ve seen all season. As we continue to race, we know that these girls will work to run even stronger because that’s just the hardworking girls that we are blessed to coach."
In the mixed junior varsity race, the Maroons' Duncan Finch, with a time of 19:44, was the top finisher on the boys side, finishing in first. On the girls side, Somerset freshman Shelby Foster came home in the fourth spot.
The Maroons boys team dominated in the boys middle school race (3,000 meters), as they had seven runners in the first 11 spots. Pulaski County finished in the top spot with a perfect 15 points.
Eighth-grader Riley Crawford, of Pulaski County, claimed the top spot with a clocking of 12:21. Southwestern's Daulton Ramsey came in second (12:42), while Somerset Christian's Seth Bennett rounded out the top three (12:55).
"Our middle school team is improving quickly and ran an good race," Evans said. "Riley Crawford had an impressive win and will get a chance to compete for a varsity spot this weekend in Louisville."
In the girls middle school race, the Lady Maroons took the top spot with a perfect score of 15 points.
Though the Lady Maroons won the team title, it was a Southwestern Lady Warrior runner who claimed the top spot in the individual standings. Keona Phelps, a seventh-grader, won the race in a time of 15:05.
For the Lady Maroons, eighth-grader Kelsie Shivel was their top finisher with a clocking of 16:07. Southwestern seventh-grader Nashay Tucker crossed the line in fourth with a mark of 16:12.
Carson Albright, a fifth-grader at Southwestern, was the top local finisher in the boys elementary race (1,600 meters) with a time of 7:38. Another Warrior runner, fifth-grader Andrew Stringer, crossed the line in ninth with a clocking of 7:44.
Wayne County grabbed the top position in the team standings, finishing with a race-low 16 points. Southwestern finished second with 68 points and the Maroons came home in third with 71 points. Somerset Christian's 134 points were good enough for fifth place.
In the girls 1,600-meter race, the Lady Maroons took the top spot with 35 points, well ahead of second place Rockcastle County. Somerset finished third, Somerset Christian was sixth, and Southwestern took the ninth spot.
Lady Maroon fifth-grader Lauren Smith grabbed the first spot in the 1.1-mile race, finishing it in a time of 7:48. Morgan Bruin and Lexi Thomsen, both of Pulaski County, crossed the line in the top five.