There were a few raindrops falling when the girls varsity race started, however by the end of the race the girls were all running in a light, misty rain: the best type of rain for runners.
The Girls Varsity race was certainly an exciting one, and a nail-biter for many coaches and parents. While Nerinx Hall from St. Louis, Missouri crushed the team competition, the team race for second place had 4 teams all within 12 points of each other: Oldenburg Academy from Indiana, and three teams from Kentucky including the girls from Bullitt East, Oldham County, and DuPont Manual.
At the start of the race, three key runners in the race for first could be seen near the front of the massive swarm of runners: Sarah Billingsley from Oldenburg Academy, Caroline Grogan from Oldham County and Sophia Racette from Nerinx Hall.
At the one mile, Billingsley made a move to pass Grogan and Rachette; all three crossed the mile at 5:50.
Rachette’s team was not far behind her; the top 5 girls from Nerinx hall held places 2, 9, 18, 19, and 20. Billingsley led her ladies from Oldenburg in 1st place, following her the ladies were in 11th, 39th, 45th, and 46th. Oldham County of course had Grogan in 2nd place, following her the team had places 15, 33, 36, and 102. Bullitt East’s top 5 girls were in 10th, 26th, 32nd, 34th, and 44th. DuPont Manuals first place girl came across the mile in 22nd place, however her team was not far behind. The second place girl was in 31st; following her there was a 4-lady pack in spots 40, 41, 42, and 43.
Over the course of the second mile, Grogan and Rachette battled furiously, passing Billingsley and putting a few seconds between themselves and 3rd place. Nerinx Hall’s squad moved up slightly, now in places 1, 9, 15, 17, and 18. Oldham County’s top 4 remained relatively stable, however the 5th place girl had moved from 102nd, to 68th. This meant Oldham now had spots 1, 12, 28, 37, and 68. The ladies from Bullitt East were battling for every spot in the packed field, and were doing well to hold their positions; the ladies were now in 10th, 29th, 30th, 36th, and 41st. Oldenburg’s girls for the most part were maintaining their position, all except their 3rd place girl who had moved up 8 places. Their ladies now held places 3, 11, 31, 46, and 47. The top two girls from Bullitt East were now right next to each other, in 25th and 26th places. Their 3rd and 4th runners had stepped up to each move forward about 5 places, putting them in 34th and 35th. The 5th runner for the team was holding her own in 40th place.
The two leaders battled the entire last mile, putting a 20 second gap between them and 3rd place. Racette was leading Grogan by only a few steps when the two ladies entered the final stretch. Though Grogan fought to close the gap, she just couldn’t match Racette’s calm, powerful stride. Racette finished the race in 18:25.99; Grogan finished in 18:28.51. Billingsley maintained 3rd place, finishing in 18:48.51.
Over the course of the last mile, Nerinx Hall’s girls shifted places slightly, some moved forward while some moved back. Oldenburg’s girls each fell back a few places. Oldham County’s 5th place girl maintained her place, while girls 2-4 each fell back. Bullitt East’s # 3 girl moved forward, while their 4th and 5th moved back. The girls from DuPont Manual held solid to their places: for every spot one girl lost, another girl moved forward a spot. In the end, Nerinx Hall scored 54 points as a team, and was nearly 100 points ahead of the second place team. Oldenburg took second place with 149 points, edging out DuPont Manual who scored 151. DuPont Manual took first for the Kentucky Teams, but was followed shortly by Oldham County who scored 156 points and Bullitt East with 161 points.
Boys Varsity Recap-
The weather was cool with overcast skies for the boys’ varsity race. The ground was a little soft from the rains that had come overnight, but nothing on the course was particularly slick. At the gun, everyone went out quickly, propelled forward by the adrenaline that only a race of this magnitude can create.
Chase Geary (Muhlenberg County High School) crossed the one mile with the lead, in 5:01. Just seconds behind him, Jonathan Taylor (Portland Christian), then Brett Crawford (Grayson County), and then Tristan Durbin (Apollo) came through the mile one right after another in 5:03. One team stood out at the mile, with a strong position: Cabell Midland from West-Virginia had 5 runners in the top 30. Shortly behind them, however, was North Hardin. According to Robert Rupp, North Hardin’s team captain, the team did not meet their goal pace the first mile, which forced them to play catch-up the rest of the race.
At the two mile, Taylor had taken the lead, about 5 seconds ahead of Crawford, who was in second place. Not far behind were Greary and Durbin. Cabell Midland was still holding a strong position, while the boy’s from North Hardin moved forward.
Over the course of the last mile, Crawford chased after Taylor, but just couldn’t seem to close the gap. In the last stretch, Taylor’s kick gave him a 9 second lead over Crawford. Taylor’s final time was 16:08.09. Crawford finished in 16:17.34 and took second place. He managed to keep his lead over Greary, who finished in third, just seconds behind Crawford (Greary finished in 16:20.66). Durbin, who had been racing with Greary most the race, took 4th place, finishing in 16:23.70.
In the team race, North Hardin was unable to make up for their slow first mile, took second place with 164 points. The Boys from Cabell Midland who started out strong scored 124 points, and went home with the first place trophy.