State Cross Country record book takes a beating

November 10, 2012

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.





Eastern Kentucky sweeps OVC cross country titles; Louisville men take second in Big East Conference

October 30, 2010
Soufiane Bouchikhi

Soufiane Bouchikhi

Eastern Kentucky University snared its fifth consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championship in both men’s and women’s cross country Saturday.

Meanwhile, Louisville’s men placed second and the women took eighth in the Big East Conference meet.

EKU’s men placed 1-through-5 to score a perfect 15 points, only the fourth time that has happened in conference history. EKU also pulled off sweeps in 1965 and 1989, and Western Kentucky did so in 1980. The Colonels, who now have 19 OVC men’s crowns, were followed by Southeast Missouri with 40 points.

EKU’s women upended Eastern Illinois 20-45.

Competing at the South Hills Golf Course in Cookeville, Tenn., the Colonels also had both individual winners.

Freshman Soufiane Bouchikhi won the men’s 8,000-meter race in 24 minutes, 56.73 seconds.

Kat Pagano

Kat Pagano

Senior Kat Pagano prevailed in the women’s 5,000-meter event, timed in 18:23.00.

“Today was less about individuals and more about teams,” said Coach Rick Erdmann, who won his 25th Women’s Coach of the Year award and his 17th Men’s Coach of the Year. “Both teams ran together and competed together, and I’m really proud of that. Hopefully this will give us some momentum heading into regionals.”

The NCAA Southeast Regionals are set for Nov. 13 at Louisville.

Bouchikhi followed in the footsteps of former Colonels Jacob Korir (2004-07), Joseph Maina (2008) and Wesley Ruttoh (2009) by being named OVC Male Cross Country Athlete of the Year and OVC Male Freshman of the Year. Bouchikhi is the first freshman to win the event since Korir in 2004, and his time is the fastest in the event since 2007.

Pagano, already a two-time top 10 finisher in the OVCs, won her first title. She placed fifth in 2008 and fourth last year. She is the second straight Colonel to win the event and OVC Athlete of the Year honors, as Picoty Leitich won last year as a freshman.

EKU’s Hannah Miller, 12th in 19:10.40, earned OVC Freshman of the Year honors.

After Bouchikhi, EKU’s men had sophomore Victor Kemboi in 25:19.63, junior Evans Kiptoo (25:29.16), junior David Mutuse (25:35.22) and freshman Ole Hesselbjerg (25:43.19). SEMO’s Jason Lumpkin finished less than a second after Hesselbjerg.

EKU’s three non-scoring runners all placed in the top 14. Sophomore Daniel Jones came in 10th, with juniors Musa Kimuli and Chris Rice going 12-14. All eight Colonels earned all-conference honors.

After Eastern and SEMO came Eastern Illinois (95), Morehead State (108), Austin Peay (145), UT Martin (162), Tennessee Tech (189), Jacksonville State (211), Murray State (260) and Tennessee State (310).

EKU’s women won their 25th OVC title, sweeping the first three places and six of the top 12.

After Pagano came sophomore Jackline Barkechir (18:40.72) and Leitich (18:46.74). Senior Sylvia Bundotich placed sixth (18:58.83) and junior Danielle Mason took eighth (19:02.79).  Then came Miller, followed by freshman Natalie Field in 19th (19:41.30) and senior Ashli Joseph in 23rd (19:52.41).

After EKU and Eastern Illinois in the team standings, it was Murray in third (111), trailed by Jacksonville State (119), SEMO (158), Tech and Peay (181 each), Martin (183), Morehead (207) and Tennessee State (300).

All-OVC men

First team — Bouchikhi, Kemboi, Kiptoo, Mutuse, Hesselbjerg, Lumpkin, Brad LaRocque (Eastern Ill.)
Second team — Chris Loseman and Nate Shipley (SEMO), Jones, Enock Langat (Peay), Kimuli, Dustin Davis (SEMO), Rice.

All-OVC women

First team — Pagano, Barkechir, Leitich, Olivia Klaus (Eastern Ill.), Ericka Starn (Jacksonville), Bundotich, Gabriela Duenas (Eastern Ill.).
Second team — Mason, Brittany Arthur (Eastern Ill.), Katelyn Jones (Murray), Megan Gingerich (Eastern Ill.), Miller, Kasey Owens (SEMO), Erika Ramos (Eastern Ill.).

Eaton leads Louisville men

In the Big East Championships, held at Jamesville (N.Y.) Beach Park, Syracuse edged the U of L men 59-63. Villanova won the women’s title with 26 points, while Louisville rang up 272.

Michael Eaton, a senior, led Louisville’s men by placing second with an 8K time of 25:05.4. Lee Carey of Providence won in 24:56.8.

U of L’s Matt Hughes placed ninth (25:25.3). Tyler Byrne, 15th overall, was the top freshman in the race. Completing U of L’s scorers were Luke Lovelace and Gordon Dooley, 18th and 19th. The gap between Eaton and Dooley was a mere 53 seconds.

“I’m really proud of the men’s efforts today,” Cardinals Coach Brice Allen said. “They executed the game plan to a ‘T.’ We had the No. 1 senior and the No. 1 freshman in the conference.

“Michael ran the race today like a fifth-year senior. He was patient in the middle of the pack at the 800-meter mark; he moved into 15th place at the mile; by three miles, he moved into the top five; and with a mile to go he walked everyone down except the leader. That’s what you come to expect from a fifth-year senior.”

Emily Borsare led U of L’s women, placing 24th with a time of 21:55.1 for 6,000 meters. Kim Grieshaber was 43rd, Monica Hernandez 48th, Ariel Briggs 78th and Cassie Martin 79th.

“Emily ran a great race today,” Allen said. “She closed well and moved up 10 positions. To cap her cross country career, she ran well for the Cardinals.

“We’re looking forward to the regional race and the move on to nationals.”

Louisville hosts mega-cross country meet Saturday

September 30, 2010

The Louisville Sports Commission will host 97 colleges and universities from 20 states Saturday in the ninth annual Greater Louisville Classic, the largest college meet in the South.

More than 2,000 athletes are expected to compete at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. The field includes 29 men’s teams and 23 women’s squads that are ranked in either the NAIA, NCAA (Divisions I, II, III) or National Junior College Athletic Association polls. NCAA Division II teams will be returning to Louisville for the national championships, Dec. 4.

U of L, ranked No. 7 in the NCAA Southeast Region, is the defending men’s team champion. Expected challengers to the Cardinals include Eastern Kentucky (No. 6 in the Southeast Region) and Colorado School of Mines (No. 3 in NCAA II). Others include the 4-7-8 teams in NCAA Division II — Grand Valley State, Southern Indiana and Queens (N.C.); 5-6 teams in NCAA I South Region — Georgia and Ole Miss; the No. 9 team in the NCAA I Midwest, Southern Illinois; and No. 11 in the Southeast, Davidson.

Men’s individual leaders include Mississippi’s Barnabas Kirui (fourth in 2009 NCAA, first in 2007 NCAA steeplechase), Queens’ Michael Crouch (D-II 1,500-meter champion) and Daniel Kirwa (D-II cross country runner-up), U of L’s Matt Hughes (D-I steeplechase champion) and Michael Eaton (2008 D-I track all-American), and EKU freshman sensation Bouchikhi Soufiane.

Leading women’s teams include the Nos. 3-4 teams in the NCAA South Region — Vanderbilt and Georgia — and the Nos. 2-4 Division II squads — Grand Valley State and Shippensburg.

Individuals to watch include Shippensburg’s Neely Spence (D-II 2008 cross country runner-up and two-time 5,000-meter champion), Western Washington’s Sarah Porter (D-II 2009 cross country runner-up and 2010 10,000-meter runner-up), Western Kentucky’s Marion Kandie, Kentucky’s Chelsea Oswald, U of L’s Kim Grieshaber and EKU’s Picoty Leitich.

Competition will be split into three divisions.  The schedule — men’s gold race, 9:30 a.m.; women’s gold, 10:15; men’s blue, 11; women’s blue, 11:45; men’s silver, 12:30 p.m.; women’s silver, 1:15 p.m.

After the collegiate races, more than 1,200 high school and middle school athletes from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio will compete, starting at 2:30 p.m.

EKU climbs in regional cross country poll

September 15, 2010

The Eastern Kentucky men’s cross country teams bolted seven spots ahead in the Southeast Region rankings, compiled by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Louisville is the lone in-state team on the national spotlight, not ranked but among “others receiving votes” — six votes that equate to No. 35.

Kentucky leads the women’s teams from the commonwealth, No. 6 in the Southeast Region. UK and EKU are the only Kentucky schools ranked in both region polls. Western Kentucky’s women are No. 14 in the Southeast.

Stanford leads the men’s national poll with 352 points and six first-place votes. Oklahoma State is close behind with 347 and five.

No. 5 Alabama and No. 13 Arkansas are the top Souheastern Conference representatives. The Big East has four top 25 teams: No. 9 Syracuse, No. 14 Villanova, No. 20 Providence and No. 25 Georgetown.

U of L was off last weekend after placing second a week earlier in the University of Evansville Mid-America Opener. Michael Eaton led the Cardinals in that race, placing second. Tyler Byrne, Gordie Dooley and Evan Hibbs placed 7-9-10. U of L will travel to the Navy Invitational this weekend at Annapolis, Md.

EKU climbed in the rankings thanks to a strong win over Marshall on Sept. 4. The top three finishers for the Colonels did not compete on the team last season. Freshman Soufiana Bouchikhi won the race; junior David Mutuse, who red-shirted last year, was runner-up; and freshman Ole Hesselbjerg placed fifth.

The Colonels will run this weekend in the Western Kentucky Old Timers Classic. Evans Kiptoo, third at last year’s Ohio Valley Conference Championships, is expected to make his season debut for EKU.

No Kentucky teams are ranked in the women’s national poll, which is led by Villanova.

USTFCCCA men’s national poll
(Rank, team, points, with first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Stanford 352 (6); 2. Oklahoma State 347 (5); 3. (tie) Northern Arizona (1) and Oregon 332; 5. Alabama 300; 6. Colorado 297; 7. Wisconsin 290; 8. Portland 261; 9. Syracuse 259; 10. Iona 258; 11. North Carolina State 216; 12. Oklahoma 211; 13. Arkansas 194; 14. (tie) New Mexico and Villanova 185; 16. Brigham Young 145; 17. Arizona State 140; 18. Michigan State 131; 19. Iowa State 130; 20. Providence 129; 21. Duke 128; 22. Virginia 118; 23. Florida State 101; 24. Princeton 98; 25. Georgetown 96; 26. Butler 72; 27. Minnesota 62; 28. Indiana 56; 29. William and Mary 39; 30. Texas 34.
Others receiving votesCal Poly 32, Ohio State 22, North Carolina 8, UCLA 7, Louisville 6, California 6, Florida 1.

USTFCCA Men’s Southeast Region
1. North Carolina State; 2. Duke; 3. Virginia; 4. North Carolina; 5. William and Mary; 6. Louisville; 7. Virginia Tech; 8. Eastern Kentucky; 9. Liberty; 10. George Mason; 11. Kentucky; 12. Norfolk State; 13. Clemson; 14. High Point; 15. Appalachian State.

USTFCCCA women’s national poll
1. Villanova 360 (12); 2. Florida State 344; 3. Washington 322; 4. Oregon 305; 5. Texas Tech 303; 6. Duke 294; 7. Georgetown 290; 8. Florida 270; 9. Princeton 263; 10. Syracuse 245; 11. Colorado 224; 12. Virginia 214; 13. Stanford 213; 14. Providence 188; 15. Notre Dame 169; 16. Iowa State 164; 17. West Virginia 155; 18. New Mexico 150; 19. Texas-El Paso 147; 20. Brigham Young 135; 21. Michigan State 109; 22. Southern Methodist 99; 23. Arizona 93; 24. Iowa 91; 25. Minnesota 82; 26. Wisconsin 71; 27. Michigan 70; 28. Penn State 58; 29. Rice 31; 30. North Carolina 26.
Others receiving votesArizona State 21, Nebraska 15, Indiana 9, Stony Brook 7, Ohio State 6, Toledo 6, Arkansas 4, Kansas 4, Vanderbilt 4, Kansas State 3, Miami (Ohio) 2, Baylor 1.

 USTFCCA Women’s Southeast Region
1. Duke; 2. Virginia; 3. North Carolina; 4. North Carolina State; 5. Clemson; 6. Kentucky; 7. James Madison; 8. Charlotte; 9. Eastern Kentucky; 10. Wake Forest; 11. Richmond; 12. Virginia Tech; 13. George Mason; 14. Western Kentucky; 15. William and Mary.