By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Local cross country teams traveled to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington looking to conclude the 2012 season with a strong showing in the KHSAA State Cross Country Meet.
However, this weekend was not too kind to them, as they struggled against some of the best competition that the state of Kentucky has to offer.
The Pulaski County boys team had the best showing of the local teams, as they finished 19th out of 27 teams in the Class AAA boys race. Southwestern finished 27th in the team standings.
Mason Blevins, a junior from Pulaski, was the top local finisher in the race, as he rounded out the top 50 with a clocking of 17:26. Southwestern’s Cory Owens, in his final race, finished 84th and broke the 18-minute barrier with a time of 17:59.
Brennan Perkins, just an eighth-grader, crossed the line just inside the top 100, as he finished in the 98th spot. Also for the Maroons, Austin Hyden came home 120th and Matthew Crawford finished 135th.
Warrior seventh-grader Matthew Jones, in his first State Meet, finished 141st. Pulaski’s Morgan Stevens finished just inside the top-150 with a 148th place finish. For Southwestern, Jordan Carrington came home in the 159th spot, while Spencer Brainard finished 176th.
Marcus Browning and Nick Cash, both in their final races as Maroons, rounded out the squad with 182nd and 188th place finishes, respectively. Southwestern’s remaining runners were, Johnathan Schaffer (218th), Logan Stanley (221st), and Tanner Harris (223rd).
St. Xavier took the top spot with 20 points, while Trinity grabbed the runner-up position. Muhlenberg County’s Chase Geary finished first with a clocking of 15:58.
Assumption won the girls AAA state championship with 31 points. Bowling Green finished second with 78 points, 47 points behind Assumption. Bailey Owens, of Assumption, won the race in a winning time of 18:12.
The Lady Maroons, who finished 26th out of 28 teams in the race, were led by the 95th place finish from freshman Sydney New.
Pulaski battled some adversity in the race, according to Lady Maroon head coach Nancy New.
“Prior to the state race, we continued to practice with one focus, beat Madison Central at the Horse Park, but as Saturday came, we traveled to Lexington with a team of runners that just did not feel very healthy,” explained New. “Alyssa Hyden, our go-to runner who we count on to lead the team, missed school on Friday with a stomach virus and finished in 177th place, Raegan Ruby, who we count on to finish fifth for the team, looked like she could not breath the entire race on Saturday and finished 187th. The only two PC runners that actually looked comfortable running were Sydney New, who finished in 95th place (22:07) and Brandi Thomas, who clocked 24:46, finishing in 201st place.”
Despite the rough outing in Saturday’s race, New was pleased with her teams performance in the 2012 cross country season.
“I am proud of what these ladies accomplished this season: six out of nine races where we brought home either a first or second place team trophy, a third place team trophy at the Meet of Champions, and a Region runner-up trophy to display,” told the Pulaski head coach. “So in retrospect, even plagued with sickness and injuries at the final race of the season, the Pulaski County Lady Maroons still came home victorious in my mind because they finished out their season against their region rivals exactly as they did during our previous weekend at the region championship---Madison Central first, but Pulaski County Lady Maroons runner-up.”
Southwestern’s Ashley Phelps, only a freshman, qualified for the State Meet with an impressive showing at the Class AAA Region 7 Championship last week at North Laurel. On Saturday, in her first State Meet, Phelps finished 111th with a clocking of 22:17.
Lady Warrior cross country head coach Jill Goff was pleased with Phelps’ performance during her freshman season. After losing Katie Goff and Tiffany Russell to injuries, Phelps stepped up and became the top runner for Southwestern.
“I am very proud of Ashley Phelps’ performance this school year,” said Goff. “Ashley is young, she is only a 9th grader. She lost her leadership when sophomore Katie Goff was injured the first race and was out for the rest of the season. She had the second blow when junior Tiffany Russell was injured playing soccer and wasn’t able to come out and run with us.”
“Ashley had a goal, she wanted to make it out of region. We talked about working hard in practice, because that is the performance you will give in a race. Ashley did just that, she worked hard and reached her goal making it to state. As we walked to the line, I told her to remember she had earned her spot and to give all she had. She finished 111 with a time of 22:17. Ashley’s personal record for this year was a 21:58.”
Lady Maroon senior Paige Ingram, in her final race of her ten-year cross country career, crossed the line in the 111th position. Her younger sister, Peyton Ingram, came home in the 155th spot. 2012 regional champion Alyssa Hyden finished 177th.
Pulaski’s remaining runners were, Raegan Ruby (187th), Brandi Thomas (201st), and Jean Weaver (214th).
The Somerset boys team finished 26th out of 27 teams in the Class A boys race. St. Henry, once again, won another state title with 84 points. Walton Verona grabbed the second spot with 116 points. Louisville Holy Cross’ Jacob Thompson was the race winner with a clocking of 15:21.
Somerset’s top finisher was Tristan Krause, who broke the top 100 with a 99th place finish. Krause’s race time was 19:24.
Also for the Briar Jumpers, Derek Hall finished 169th and Jon Baker crossed the line in the 174th spot. Somerset’s remaining runners were, Logan Sutton (193rd), Grant Gover (200th), and Austin Calhoun (213th).