Just back from a picture-perfect day — maybe even too warm (nearly 70) for the athletes — at the Kentucky Horse Park for the State High School Cross Country Championships.
Quick highlights follow.
Class A — Danville junior Meagan Smith capped her first season in the sport by winning the state title, timed in 19:16.39 for 5,000 meters. She finished more than 21 seconds ahead of runner-up Karly Gawarecki of (Louisville) Holy Cross. Three-time defending champion Maddox Patterson of Sayre, battling the effects of mononucleosis, ran a gutsy race to place third. St. Henry repeated as team champion, winning for the fifth time in six years, by scoring 62 points. Green County was second with 1:05.
Class 2A — Collins eighth-grader Gabriella Karas not only repeated as individual champion, her time of 17:44.18 broke the meet record of 18:11.92 — set two years ago by her older sister Catarina. Karas won by a minute-and-a-half over Aleja Grant of Paducah Tilghman (19:14.91). Highlands, led by 4-5 finishers Sydney Ossege and Molly Mearns, unseated defending team champion South Oldham 65-96.
Class 3A — Top-ranked Bailey Davis led an Assumption assault on the team title. Davis finished in 18:12.72, followed by Daviess County’s Whitney O’Bryan in 18:36.37. Assumption’s Emily Bean and Katherine Receveur ran 3-4 and the Rockets claimed their third straight title, and fifth in six years, with 31 points. Bowling Green placed second with 78.
Class A — (Louisville) Holy Cross senior Jacob Thomson again stamped himself as one Kentucky’s all-time elites, setting the all-class State Meet record with a 5K time of 15:21.40. That broke the record of 15:33.24 set by Daviess County’s Evan Ehrenheim in 2010. (Greenwood’s Michael Eaton clocked 15:05.89 in 2005 on the old course, in the Horse Park campgrounds. Thomson has the record on the “paddock” course.) Sayre’s Nick Waltman placed second in 16:22.94. St. Henry won its 11th consecutive team championship, outdistancing Walton Verona 84-116.
Class 2A — Lexington Catholic senior Nicholas Laureano, runner-up last year, stepped up the top of the podium this time. He pulled away from Logan County’s Sye Head in the late stages to win in 16:41.98, to Head’s 16:53.58. North Oldham captured its third team title in a row, scoring 110. Second-place Bullitt East totaled 212, a point ahead of Edmonson County.
Class 3A — Aptly named Muhlenberg County junior Chase Geary won in 15:58.66, ahead of Butler’s Patrick Gregory in 16:14.39. The big news was about the next five finishers — Sam Lewis, Nick Reader, Christopher Striege, defending champion Connor Sheryak and Max Mudd — all of St. Xavier. With a 2-3-4-5-6 finish in the team race (Geary was running as an individual and, thus, did not factor in team places), the Tigers tied the record for fewest points scored in the State Meet, 20. St. X’s second straight win also snapped a tie with archrival Trinity for most state titles. The Tigers now lead the Shamrocks 19-18.