Presents: State Memories II in preparation for the 2008 Kentucky State Cross Country Meet has caught with several former Kentucky State Cross Country Champions asking them to describe their memories of winning a state championship. This is the first of five installments in the “State Meet Memories” series.
Brian Long, St. Xavier High School
Year of State Title: 2006
Course Location: The Horse Park
Distance: 5000 Meter Run

"It was a great moment.  I had always watched the meets when I was younger and wanted to keep training and running hard so I could have my chance.  I thought my chance was shot when I got a stress fracture my senior year, but I got better and was able to get some training in before the meet and run well.  It was a great experience, and I was able to be one of the few to win the state cross country meet."


Jeramy Kazlauskas, Daviess County High School
Year of State Title:  1992
Course Location:  Kentucky Horse Park Campground
Distance:  5000 Meters

I will always remember the tremendous turn out of friends and family, in the cold weather, to show their support for our team. The course was covered with people cheering; including those dedicated enough to climb the trees to encourage the runners. The pride associated with winning a State Championship for Daviess County will be with me forever.
Dion DeMasters, Valley High School         
Year of State Title:     1978 
Course Location:     Seneca Park 
Distance:     5000 meters 

It was the first year transitioning from 2 mile to 5,000 meters.  I was thrilled at the extended distance as the longer races seemed to be my strength. I had battled and lost to the other top runners such as Mike McKay of Southern and Joe Buechler of St. X all year in the other big meets.  To finish 1st and finally beat those guys was a dream come true.   It is an honor to be able to say I was the first state cross country champion at 5,000 meters.
Michele (Marshall) Van Laningham, Boone County HS         
Year of State Title: 1990 3K, 1992 4K
Course Location: Kentucky Horse Park
There are very few experiences that can compare with winning an Individual State Championship especially in Cross Country.  You are one of only six people in the entire state to accomplish this.  After winning the State Title in 1990, I remember feeling like a celebrity as I walked through the chute with all of the cameras flashing and people yelling to me.  This year was especially memorable being my first Cross Country State Title, but also because I was able to share the experience with my teammate and future husband, Eric Van Laningham, as he won his race later that same day.  The last person I saw during the race was Coach Jim Wihebrink as I made the final turn up to the finish.  He was yelling like I had never seen him yell before and I knew that I couldn’t lose the race now!   I remember my father vividly.  He was my biggest supporter and seemed to be everywhere cheering me on.  He was the first person to find and congratulate me following the race.  I will never forget the excitement and joy on his face.  I think this is when I first realized what I had accomplished.  At first I was in a state of shock.  I had a tendency to block out the fact that it was the State Meet in order to keep my nerves in check.  I didn’t realize that I had won State until I saw him.  This was without a doubt one of the most memorable, wonderful days of my life and for the lives of the people closest to me! 
Christopher Young, Allen-County Scottsville High School
Year of State Title: 1999
Course Location: Horse Park
Distance: 5000 Meters
I was shaking with anticipation, after my warm up I went to my high school coach Rick Roberts of Allen County Scottsville, l was terrified, and he hugged me and said, "You have nothing to worry about big guy, nobody can run with you!"
At the start of the race, other athletes said I was going to fast at the start and that I didn't stand a chance to win.  At 1.5 miles into the race Coach Ron Skillern of Bowling Green said I had a 45+ second gap on the pack, and to "bring it home!"  
I started crying for the last mile, finishing 1st, and winning by 30 seconds.
I went to the state meet 4 times throughout my XC career and as a Freshman I got 66th, Sophomore, 69th, Junior 10th, Senior 1st.