The Meet of Champions at Masterson Station has always held a special place in my heart. As I made my way to the meet on a cold, cloudy October morning, the memories of my own Meet of Champions experiences came back. What I realized most on this day was that for many athletes, as is the case for myself, the way he or she remembers their state meet is not by the place they came in, but by the experiences they had before, during, and after the event. Yes, the race is run to determine who the fastest individual is within the different age groups and there is a single “Champion” in that regard. But this “Meet of Champions” is a gathering of the many young men and women who have spent many weeks of hard to reach whatever goals they had set before them. So here’s to all the “Champions” of this Middle School Cross-County season.
The first of the 8th and under championships got underway with the ladies taking to the 4000m course first. From the start, there was one young lady who had no equal on this day and her name is Alena Spienza-Wright of Anchorage Middle School. After opening up in a first mile of 5:38 to take the lead really never looked back. In second at that point was Kaitlyn Lacy of Barret Middle School and third was Kathleen Simms of St. Agnes. Spienza-Wright increased her lead over the span of the “prison loop” while battling a side cramp and her 2-mile time was 12:01. Simms had closed the gap on Lacy and the two were now in a close battle for second. Ahead of them and making her final lap around the old arena, Spienza-Wright finished first in a time of 14:44 which is good enough for 3rd on the all-time list at this meet. Simms overtook Lacy in the final 400m for second place in a time of 15:07 with Lacy finishing third with a 15:11. Both of those lady’s times place them in the top 15 All-Time.
The last championship race of the day got off without a hitch and Alazar Barsamian of Christian Academy went straight to the front with a few running giving chase. Barsamian came through the mile first in 5:11, but behind him and closing was Luke Hoover of Crosby and Hunter Kurz of Daviess County. Barsamian did not give way easily, however, as he held his lead until about 100m from the 2-mile mark when Hoover caught up to him first. Hoover crossed 2 miles in 10:58 with Kurz and Barsamian still fighting for 2nd place. The final 500m was all Hoover though, as he really put on a strong surge knowing his state championship was in sight. Hoover finished with a time of 13:24 which places him 5th on the all-time list. Kurz finished 2nd with a time of 13:39 (13th all-time) and Barsamian finished third in 13:46. (22nd all-time)