Henry Clay/Tanner Duke Recap: 1st Timer Cole Wins Boys Race, Reinhart Takes Girls Title

Henry Clay/Tanner Duke Invitational



            Henry Clay has hosted the kickoff meet for the Lexington area for several years now, but this year’s meet ran to a more somber tone. Last January, a member of the Henry Clay cross country team, Tanner Duke, tragically passed away. In honor of his memory, this year’s meet was named the Henry Clay/Tanner Duke Invitational. As cross country season begins I cannot imagine how difficult of a time this must be for the Duke family. So as you read this, take a moment to stop and give a moment of your thoughts and/or prayers to Tanner Duke and his family.


Girls Varsity Race

            From the gun, Michaela Reinhart looked to make a strong opening statement on her 2014 XC campaign. She jetted to the front of the pack and tried to open up a lead before the half-mile mark. Olivia Leet of Fleming County, Jodi Llanora of Lexington Catholic, and Selena Mattingly of Williamsburg were nearest to the leading Reinhart throughout the first mile. Reinhart led through the first mile in about 6:03 (the mile’s weren’t exactly marked so that’s not a perfect time stamp) with Olivia Leet next in 6:21, Llanora in 6:25, and Mattingly in 6:28. The next half-mile was out of view for me, but it was clear as they pasted by me next that Mattingly had started to work her way up the pack. Reinhart still held about a 23s lead over Leet, but Mattingly had moved into 3rd right behind Olivia. The last mile of this course seemed to really wear down on the athletes and the strong starts turned into fights toward the finish line. Athletes coming across the line looked worn down from both the hills and heat, which had risen over the short 30 minute timespan that the race took place. Reinhart was able to close out the win with a 20:14, maybe not the time she was personally looking for, but still a strong effort on the day. Mattingly was able to pace her way into 2nd with a respectable 20:50.  Probably the best individual performance of the race came from freshman Savanna Duff of Tate’s Creek who was in 6th at the mile, had moved up right behind 4th before the 2 mile and was able to finish in 3rd with a 21:00. Leet finished in 4th in 21:12 and Llanora was 5th with 21:22. Tate’s Creek was able to edge out Henry Clay at their invitational, winning 52-55. Besides Duff’s 3rd place, Tate’s Creek were powered to victory on the backs of Emma Wells, Maya Plucinksi, and Maddie Covey, who finished together from 13th – 15th and Katherine Anderson who finished in 22nd. Henry Clay had a similar pack-attack, but the Commodore’s came away with the victory.


Boys Varsity Race

            As the temperature continued to rise as the day wore on, the boy’s varsity race shot off. The first mile around the soccer fields of Masterson Station was a little bit more cramped up front, with no one really pushing out as fast as Reinhart did in the girl’s race, but it was Garrett Faulkner of Williamsburg and Matthew Inman of Dunbar who came through in a time of 5:20 with Aaron Wier of Lexington Christian Academy about a second behind and a pack of Christian Cole, August Necamp, and Chase Brieske from Lexington Catholic and Jordan Carrington of Southwestern about a second behind him. More so than the girl’s race, several athletes made big moves after the mile. Wier took a commanding lead from Faulkner and Inman by the mile and a half and Christian Cole had broken away from his teammates and started to make his way up into 4th and gaining ground. At the 2-mile it was a 2 man race, as Wier had a slight lead over Cole with Faulkner several seconds back from them and then Carrington a couple seconds back from Faulkner. Because of the course’s set-up, I wasn’t able to see the battle that ensued over the final mile, but once they turned the corner with the finish line in sight, it was almost a neck-and-neck race between Cole and Wier. Cole had the final push he needed to get the victory in his first ever cross country race in 17:05 with Wier coming in second with 17:08. Carrington also must have made a strong push in the final mile, as he was able to take 3rd in 17:49 followed by Faulkner 17:56 and Ross Smith of Harrison County in 18:01. Again, this race really leant itself to the runners who went out conservative and made moves over the second half of the course as opposed to those who went out fast from the start. I believe it was a combination of the fact that the course was deceptively hilly after a flat start and first-race jitters probably had some people ready to jump out of the blocks (haha… a track pun) too fast. Lex Cath won the team race with a score of 61 thanks not only to Cole’s victory, but Necamp’s 7th place run, Brieske’s 9th place finish, Trey Hayden’s 21st place finish and Will Harned’s 27th place finish. They also earned their victory without the services of Jackson Laureano, who is currently injured. I heard some rumblings of what his injury may be and it’s not an insignificant injury to the young man. That’s extremely unfortunate because if this Lexington Catholic team could get, arguably, their best runner back and into shape this will be a very dangerous team by the time November rolls around. Henry Clay’s team came in 2nd with a similar pack-attack strategy from the girl’s race, having only a 55s gap between their 1st and 5th runners.