Boys Varsity Recap-
The atmosphere surrounding Saturday’s Boys Varsity Race at the Grant County Invitational could not have been better. Spread across the opening stretch, some of the top Kentucky teams and individuals prepared themselves for the race with calisthenics, stretches, stride outs, and prayers. Michael Caldwell, a senior from Bishop Brossart could be seen in the mix of runners; as well as Eric Baugh of Villa Madonna, a Junior; and Hunter Trenary, senior from Owen County.
The lineup of teams included Covington Catholic, who had taken second in the St. X tiger run last Saturday, besting last year’s 2A state Champions, the North Oldham Mustangs. Also in 2A, Highlands’s boys were getting ready to hopefully top their performance last week, which their coach deemed their best race in the past 10 years. Class 1A schools included St. Henry boys who have been a dominant 1A force for years now and their rivals, the boys of Bishop Brossart.
The crowd lined the opening stretch, and the officials called the boys to the line. With a shot, the boys were off. At only 100 yards out, Caldwell, Baugh, and Trenary were already in the lead, with a stampede of runners behind them. In the mass, Highlands’s boys were boxed in together, pushing towards the left edge which was occupied by a string of St. Henry’s and Bishop Brossart’s boys .
The first mile was quick. The lead pack came through in just under 5 minutes, led by Caldwell who was making an early move in the race, but Baugh and Trenary were not giving any ground.
Meanwhile, Highlands’s and Covington’s boys were battling it out. At their heads, Ethan Shuley (Highlands) and John Michael Griffith (Highlands) were in 4th and 5th, followed closely by Brian Menke (Covington) in 6th. Covington’s 2-4 runners (Bradley Couch, Matt Rose, and Jake Zimmerman) were all close together in places 18, 19, and 21, and were leading Highlands 3rd runner, Matt Gray in 24th. Gray was followed shortly by his teammates Geoffrey Mearns, Jackson Paul, and James Smith (30th, 34th, 40th respectively). Right with them was Covington’s Sean Panoushek in 37th.
Class A teams Bishop Brossart and St. Henry were battling as well. Brossart’s boys lead by Caldwell, held places 16, 17, 45, 53, and 62. St. Henry’s boys led by Josh Hannon in 6th place, held spots 23, 47, 51, 58 and 60.
Caldwell pulled the 3 man lead pack through the 2nd mile quick, in 10:15 with Baugh waiting to make a move. Trenary who was fighting to stick with them through the 2nd mile, was trailing shortly behind them.
By the 2 mile, Menke had broken between Highlands’s Shuley-Griffith combo to take the 5th spot. Following suit, the two teams’ packs were competing head to head with each other, and not all the runners were able to take the heat. By the two mile mark, the Highlands-Covington race looked like this: 4th-Highlands, 5th-Covington, 6th-Highlands, 11th-Covington, 12th-Covington, 15th-Highlands, 17th-Covington, 18th-Highlands, 23rd-Highlands, 26th-Highlands, 27th-Covington.
The Brossart-Henry race was starting to shape out in the 2nd mile, with Brossart showing a definite lead. Brossart’s boys had moved up slightly, now holding places 1, 14, 43, 45, and 47. St. Henry’s lead runner had moved up to 6th place, however their 2nd man had fallen to place 25th. Their third man had moved up to 46th, while their 4th fell back to 54th. Their 5th man had moved up to 58th.
In the last mile, Caldwell and Baugh battled the entire way. With about 1000 meters to go, Baugh made a move, taking the lead from Caldwell. However, Caldwell stuck with him and used his speed to open a 7 second gap in the last 1/10th of a mile. Their blistering pace pushed Caldwell to a 15:40.2, his personal record. Baugh came through with a personal record of his own, 15:47. Following suit, Trenary set a new personal record of 15:58.7. For Baugh and Trenary, this was their first time breaking the 16 minute barrier. All three boys broke the course record, which had been set by Nicholas Laureano in 2011.
In the end, Highlands’s boys were the Champions, with a score of 68 points. By besting Covington Catholic (who took second with 77 points), Highlands showed that they are ready to compete at the state level. Class A Brossart bested their St. Henry rivals with 183 points; St. Henry was only marginally behind, scoring 208 points. When asked about the team’s performance, Coach Rob Braun of Brossart said he was happy with his boys performance, but “we tied Lex. Cath. and got beat on our 6 man: there’s a teaching moment today.”
Girls Varsity Recap-
The atmosphere was serene as the girls prepared for the start of the race: a cool morning, sunny, with a slight breeze. The meet official gave the pre-race instructions, and then called the girls to the line. With a shot, the race began.
Girls flew through the open field ahead of them. Just behind the leaders, you could see Michaela Reinhart striding effortlessly in the center. Just off to her left, a pack of Highlands girls were already taking a strong position. Along the left-most edge of the pack, a string of girls in red St. Henry uniforms could be seen, making a push for the front. One quarter of a mile into the race Michaela Reinhart had taken the lead. Just behind her were two ladies from St. Henry: Sam Hentz and Taylor Connet, followed by Molly Mearns of Highlands High School and her teammate, Sydney Ossege.
As masses of runners flew by, two teams had already distinguished themselves as the top competitors of this race: Highlands and St. Henry.
Over the next mile, the pack spread out considerably. Reinhart held the lead position with ease; already she had opened a 5 second window between her and the next two girls, which would only continue to grow. Behind her, Mearns came by with Hentz hot on her heals.
As the runners flew by, Highlands’ girls were just ahead of and St. Henry’s. Highlands top 7 all were in the top 30 runners (2nd, 5th, 7th, 12th, 20th, 23rd, 28th) while St. Henry’s top 5 girls held places 3, 4, 11, 14, and 21.
Reinhart came through the 2-mile mark by herself around 12 minutes flat. None of the other runners were even in sight. 25 seconds later, Mearns came through the 2-mile with a slight lead over Hentz; however, Hentz was staying hot on her trail.
While Reinhart was running away with first (and making it look easy), Highlands and St. Henry were still battling to be the top team. At the head, Mearns (Highlands) and Hentz (St. Henry) were struggling for 2nd place. In second place for her team Taylor Connett (St. Henry) held 5th, with Chloe Gastright (highlands) hot in pursuit. In a 4 woman pack holding places 8-11 were Renee Svec (St. Henry), Holly Blades (St. Henry), Sydney Ossege (Highlands) and Page Dauer (Highlands). 5th for their teams, Frances Tracey (Highlands) and Abby Epplen (St. Henry) held places 20th and 21st.
In her High School debut last week, Reinhart took first place in St. X’s Tiger run with a time of 19:16. This week, in her 2nd High School race to date, Reinhart smashed the course record in a time of 18 minutes and 33.3 seconds. She also set a new school record for Lexington Catholic High School, and destroyed her competition by 45 seconds. When asked about what she thought coming into today’s race she said “I was pretty nervous, and I was definitely not expecting to go that fast.”
After battling with Mearns for the entire race, Hentz held the lead coming into the final stretch. Despite Mearns attempt to close the distance, Hentz pulled away with a 4 second lead over Mearns, finishing the race in 19:18.4.
The team trophy was hotly contested in Saturday’s race. However at the end of the day, the girls from St. Henry came off conquerors. Highlands’ and St. Henry’s girls were neck and neck the entire race. However, in each contest the ladies from St. Henry were able to edge out their Highlands’ counterparts.
Girls Middle School Recap
The girls Middle School race was a ‘course record’ as well. With no lead cart to show the way, the Middle School girls took a wrong turn, and added an extra approximate half mile to the race. Rebecca Schroer took an early lead, and was followed closely by her teammate Abby Jones the entire race. They finished far ahead of the 3rd place girl.
In the team race, Woodford County girls were ready to go the distance. They powered through the “3K+” race, and were able to take 1st place as a team with a score of 54. The girls from St. Henry took second, with a score of 74 points.
Boys Middle School Recap
Striding out to take the lead from the start, Brenden Hansen was a lone runner the entire race. He won the race in 11:08.6, setting a huge PR for himself. The next runner, Ben Spratt, came through at 11:35. Hansen was the first of a swarm of St. Henry runners, that took first place for the Boys Middle School race with a score of 71 point. Just behind them Ryle Middle school took 2nd with 97 points.