Murray Invitational Recap: Aleja Grant Opens Season with Win, TN Boys take 1-2





Photos: Murray Invitational by jonathan

The 1st Annual Murray Invitational was held yesterday on the estate of Chuck Jones, a local businessman.  The picturesque course is ideal for cross country with many at the meet commenting how it very similar to the old campground course at the Kentucky Horse Park.   The consisted of two varsity competitions and two middle school races with teams from the local area and a few outsiders.

The Varsity Girls started off the day at 9:30 with the temperature already sizzling outside.  Right from the gun, Paducah Tilghman's Aleja Grant (2012 Class AA XC Runner-Up) shot off the line and took a commanding lead of over the field.  She was already up 15 seconds on the field at the 1/4 mile mark.  Unfortunately for the rest of the athletes, Grant did not slow down either.  She cruised through the first mile at 5:41 and followed that up with a 6:23 second mile running on an island out front.  Her victory was sealed as she crossed the line with a 19:09 in her first race of the 2013 season.  For more information from her there is a video interview linked below. 

Interview with Aleja Grant (Winner 19:09)

After Grant, the race thinned out, but Alexa Brainard of Collierville (TN) fought to keep her close.  Brainard came through the two mile mark at 12:43, just 39 seconds back of Grant.  Brainard ended up at 20:06 followed by her teammate Danielle Myers at 21:15.  The duo from Tennessee helped lead the team to victory with just 44 points. 

Calloway County's Kelly Norton was fourth overall, coming off a victory at McCracken County on August 26th.     Graves County ended up 2nd as a team with a front trio of Sydney Anderson, Erica Holt, and Jaden West in 5th, 6th, and 7th.  West, won the middle school race last week at the Madisonville North Hopkins Invitational. 

The host school, Murray was third overall with 72 points led by Kayleigh House and Claire Wilson both in the Top 10.

The boys race went off next with a couple runners from Tennessee as the favorites.  Drew Carff of Collierville and Sam Darnell from University School of Jackson both ran at the Brooks Twilight Classic last week in Memphis running 16:35 and 17:00.  Carff cruised through the mile at 5:21 and went on to win in 16:49 followed by Darnell in 17:06. 

Interview with Drew Carff (TN) Boys Winner

The local Region 1 match-up was between Christian County's Logan Hurd & Graves County's Marcos Macias.  Last week at Madisonville, Hurd was the better of the two by 41 seconds.  This week, Macias had his revenge with a third place finish in 17:16, with fourth for Hurd in 17:38.  The award for longest travels to this meet goes to George Rogers Clark.  Defying the usual circumstances, a Lexington area team traveled to Western KY flipping the usual around. The drive did not hinder Grayson Brookshire as he came across for 6th place with a 17:43. 

As the Varsity race was finishing it was obvious that the team battle was going to be close.  Collierville & Graves each had four runners come across in the top 15.  The final results ended up showing them tied at 46 points  The Tennessee squad took home the titles based on the finish of their 6th runner, Johnny Harrison.  Harrison was 20th overall, 6 places better than Graves 6th runner, Chris Toon.  University School was 3rd overall followed by Calloway County.      

The middle school races were mainly a local battle.  The girls race was very heavy with Marshall County and Graves County.  They ended up tieing at 41 points, Marshall won on their 6th runner.  Desteni Thomas, 6th grader from Graves won by a very impressive 59 seconds over Spring Dolbee of Marshall County. 

The middle school boys race was won by Marshall Thompson of Calloway County by 30 seconds over Jacob Rushing of Marshall County.  Graves County won the team battle with 30 points led by Avery McClain and Alexander Macias in 3rd & 4th.  




Varsity Girls 1/4 Mile Varsity Girls 2 Mile Mark after Aleja Grant Varsity Girls Finish Norton & Anderson Varsity Boys Start
Varsity Boys Leaders1/2 Left Varsity Boys Finish Varsity Boys Finish 2nd Place - Varsity Girls Finish
Interview with Aleja Grant (Winner 19:09) Middle School Girls Start Middle School Girls Leader at 2400m Mark Middle School Girls 2nd Place On at 2400m Mark
Middle School Boys 1/4 Mile Mark Middle School Boys Finish Interview with Drew Carff (TN) Boys Winner