Pulaski County Invitational: Pulaski Boys, Ryle Girls Claim PCI Titles




Pulaski Boys, Ryle Girls Claim PCI Titles
It was their host meet but not their home course, but the Pulaski boys didn’t care, as they won the varsity title at the 41st annual Pulaski County Invitational, held Oct. 12 at Cave Lake in Wayne County. The Ryle Lady Raiders made the long trip south and claimed the girls’ crown.
Pulaski officials moved their invitational to the Wayne County course to gain experience at the regional site, and it paid off in a big way.
The race opened with The Maroons’ Mason Blevins and Morgan Stevens in a dead heat with Grayson Brookshire of George Rogers Clark, as all three finished the first mile at a 5:25 pace.
Rounding the lake at the scenic course, Covington Catholic’s Brian Menke pulled ahead at a 9:35 clip, with Blevins and Trevor Shearer of Wayne County at his heels. With 600 meters to go, Blevins claimed the lead to stay, with his teammate Stevens nearly pulling even at that point. Menke and Shearer were close behind and overtook Stevens for second and third place respectively.
Blevins won the individual title at 16:36, with Menke at 16:45 and Shearer at 16:53. Stevens finished fourth at 16:58, and Brookshire recorded a time of 17:02 for fifth place.
The host Maroons’ 35 points brought home the first place hardware, with CovCath in second at 51. Wayne County finished third with 83.
A thick fog covered the course for the first race of the day, but that didn’t stop the Ryle Lady Raiders from dominating Girls Varsity.
Ryle’s Katelyn Nichols stormed to a lead early in the event, rounding the fog-enveloped lake at the 11:55 mark, followed by teammates Amanda Wright (12:12) and Kaitlyn Bach (12:46). Nichols continued the lead with 600 meters to go, but Wayne County’s Sadie Martin made a strong move to push into second place. Pulaski County’s Alyssa Hyden and Sydney McWhorter were even at that point and challenged each other at the finish, with Hyden victorious.
The fog lifted by the end of the race, and Nichols won with a time of 20:04, followed by Martin (20:45), Hyden (20:55) and McWhorter (20:59). Ryle’s dominance was evident in the individual standings, as the Lady Raiders claimed seven of the top eleven spots.
Ryle took the team title with 30 points, and South Laurel was second with 65.  Wayne County claimed third with 87 points.
“Two of our top four runners were out of town for Fall Break, so we had to move up two of our Junior Varsity girls,” said Jim Wihebrink, Ryle’s Girls Coach. “They showed a lot of guts and worked hard today, and I was really pleased with the team’s performance.”
Wayne County teammates Zachary West (19:25) and Corey Lewis (19:49) finished one-two in Boys JV, followed by Ryle’s Harrison Bloodworth (20:39). Ryle had the top 12 finishers on the girls’ side, with Anna Celenza claiming the title at 22:48. Her teammate Hailey Hartman finished second with a time of 23:15. Ryle was the only school to field full teams in Junior Varsity.
Southwestern’s Matthew Jones led the way in the Boys’ Middle School 3K run, while Riley Crawford of rival Pulaski came in second. Pulaski won the team title, with South Laurel second and Clark Middle third.
Devin Mayfield of the host Maroons took the Girls Middle School crown, followed by Mary Beth Melhuish and MaKenzie Cooper of Foley Middle. North Laurel claimed top team honors, with Foley and Pulaski in the next two spots.
Wayne County dominated the Boys’ Elementary race for first place, with the top six finishers, led by individual titlist Nathan West. Pulaski finished second in the team standings, followed by Southwestern.
Rockcastle County placed first in the girls’ race, with the Lady Maroons in second and Clinton County third. Nicole Hesse of Wayne County was the top individual finisher.