Teams likely to qualify – Union County, Webster County, Calloway County, Logan County
Teams on the bubble – Hopkinsville
This is going to be a showdown between Union County and Webster County. Union and Webster should each put two in the top 10 at the regional. Union County has the edge in experience with Lauren Parrish leading the squad which also includes a State Champion 3200m runner from a few years ago, Maddie White. Calloway and Logan are each solid at the one but lack the total package 1-5 to compete with Union and Webster.
Individually, this region is 7th grader Aleja Grant’s for the taking. She has won four of the seven races she entered this fall in her first season of cross country including a best time of 20:29 at the St. Mary Invitational.
Teams likely to qualify – Elizabethtown, Breckenridge
Teams on the bubble – Warren East, Allen County-Scottsville
Elizabethtown and Breckenridge are clearly the best teams in this region, as both have solid front runners and strong second and third runners. They look to have the first two positions in this region in hand. The other spots will come down to the number of squads that show up on the line this Saturday as the region has 9 teams who have run five athletes this year, but with illness and injury, there may be as few as six full squads which would limit the qualifying teams to three. Allen County-Scottsville looked very strong at the Wildcat Wilderness Invitational, so I would give them the edge at this point, but this one should be interesting as Warren East may be running to get a qualifying spot as opposed to keeping a qualifying spot.
Individually, Krisston Senter of Allen County-Scottsville, Brittany Whitworth of Elizabethtown, and Susan Bailey of Breckenridge should battle it out for the win here as all three have looked impressive all season. Sentor looks to be the leader and favorite of the three coming in as she has been ahead of Whitworth in two races over the last four weeks, while Whitworth handled Bailey in a match-up last week at the Lincoln Trailhead meet.
Teams likely to qualify – South Oldham, Christian Academy (Louisville), North Oldham,
Teams on the bubble – Spencer County, Presentation, Mercy Academy
Alright, here is the region in Class AA to talk about as the top five teams in Class AA may come out of it, if enough teams make it to the line on Saturday. Eleven teams have compiled rosters of at least five athletes that have competed at least once this season, but, as is normally the case, I don’t expect all eleven to field full squads this Saturday. That being said, it is reasonable to expect four teams will qualify and possible that five would be eligible to advance. South Oldham is by far the favorite to win this region and could probably survive two injuries in their top seven and still be favored to win the state title this year after claiming the win last season. Christian Academy (Louisville) has easily been the second best squad in the state for most of the season, but #1 runner, and state title favorite, Jenna Rogers has not appeared in any results over the last month which could change their fortunes very seriously. Without Rogers, CAL is right back in the mix fighting for a qualifying spot with Spencer County, Presentation, and Mercy Academy.
North Oldham looks to be the next best squad as they have shown steady improvement this season and look primed for an impressive postseason run. Spencer County appears to be the next best team as they have beaten Presentation this month when they were at full strength with their middle school athletes. It will be a tough fight between the two squads and a frustrating one as only one may qualify to the state meet even though they both are easily considered among the top six teams in Class AA. Mercy Academy is on the outside looking in at this point even though they may also be a top 10 squad in Class AA.
Individually, there is plenty to follow as well with Jenna Rogers being the favorite up through her last race at Greater Louisville at the beginning of October. If Rogers doesn’t reemerge, then Casey Richardson of Presentation would fill the role of favorite, but South Oldham’s group of Jessie Murner, Hannah Ellis, and Grace Whitworth might all find themselves in position for the title as they tend to be sharp for their postseason run. This race will tell us plenty about the state title picture both in the team facet and individually, so I know I will be waiting to see the results.
Teams likely to qualify – Lloyd Memorial, Lexington Catholic
Teams on the bubble – Highlands, Franklin County
Lloyd Memorial would easily be the best squad among this group if their entire top four runners were intact, but without Courtney Siefert, who has appeared in results since she apparently DNF’d at Greater Louisville, the may just be beatable. Lexington Catholic will look to find out just that as they go after the trio of Elisha Overpeck, Torey Duncan, and Sarah Duncan from Lloyd Memorial. Highlands would be in the discussion for this regional title if they could call on the services of elementary state champion Lauren Ossege for their postseason run, but they cannot and will be struggling to hold off Franklin County to claim the third qualifying spot at this regional. Franklin County handled the group just two weeks ago at the St. Henry Invitational, so we may have a very rare occurance if the Highlands group doesn’t advance this year.
Individually, the group from Lloyd will be in the mix up front, as well as Kelsey McCain from Pendleton County who still has a state title to her name from 2007.
Teams likely to qualify – Boyle County, Bell County
Teams on the bubble – Rockcastle County, West Jessamine, Mercer County, East Jessamine
The whole face of this region has changed with the addition of the Ditto sisters at Boyle County. They are now head and shoulders above the rest and should easily qualify to the state meet this weekend. Bell County joined this region last year after winning the state title in 2007 and went to a tiebreaker to win. This season, they shouldn’t have a problem qualifying for the state championships, but they don’t have the firepower to match Boyle up front. There’s a possibility that five teams could qualify from this region, but after the first two, it’s kind of hard to say who will make it in. Rockcastle County appears to have the best chance to take the next spot on paper with Laura Dollins leading the charge for them. Mercer County was just ahead of East Jessamine at the Meet of Champions, who was just ahead of Knox Central, who was just ahead of West Jessamine. The final two/one spot(s) here will be very tightly contested and West Jessamine could find themselves sitting at home this postseason for the first time in a long while.
Teams likely to qualify – Mason County, East Carter
Teams on the bubble – Russell, Ashland Blazer
Mason County is probably among the top six or seven teams in the state in Class AA this season and they should take this title with little trouble. The rest of the squads don’t bring a ton to the table, but there will be at least three qualifiers from this group and probably four, so East Carter follows as the second best among the group, while Russell and Ashland Blazer should battle for the third and fourth positions in the regional.
Julia Woods of Mason County looks to have the individual title within her grasp this season, but Jennifer Sloan of Russell will look to try to make it interesting for part of the race.
Teams likely to qualify – Letcher County Central, Harlan County
Teams on the bubble – Johnson Central, Powell County
This is always one of the tougher regions to figure out as there normally aren’t many sets of results to compare, but there are several sets this year to look at so here goes. Letcher County Central and Harlan County looked the best on paper, but it appears that is more related to the quality of the courses they ran on at the Area 9 Championships and the KTCCCA Meet of Champions. Johnson Central has shown that they can run close to Harlan County which is why they are on the bubble, while Powell County can’t be written off as there is a possibility that three spots will be available and they have posted some solid runs in the past.
Letcher’s Kelsey Mullins and Harlan’s Jade Goodwin appear to be the favorites to battle it out for the regional title. Samantha Whitaker of Johnson Central may also be strong enough to get in the mix for the win.