Class AAA Girls
WATCH duPont Manual team interview from State 2016
The Class AAA girls has one of the most dominant teams in all of the Kentucky cross country this season. duPont Manual has put on a show all season long with impressive wins and solid showings in some of the most competitive races in the region. However, many other teams in the state have shown that they have the fight to compete and leave their best effort on the course. We all know that anything can happen at the Horse Park in November, but here is how I see it shaking out.
The ladies from Manual have shown how to run as a team and how to dominate while doing it. With the addition of some key pieces in the off season, they have become a team that could challenge for a score under 35. Senior Kathleen Simms (who transferred from Sacred Heart) has led the team most of the season with Alena Sapienza-Wright establishing as the solid #2 runner. Alena has been the #1 for last three years, but with her teammate running a season best of 17:51.04, she has fortified the squad. The sophomore crew of Taylor Boggess and Mye'cia Bright look to the next up as the seniors will run in their final cross country state meet. With freshman Abigail Bohn completing the top 5, these ladies will be an absolute force. Watch for the other teams to work their way into the Manual pack and attempt to disrupt the flow and make it a little more difficult.
One of those teams that can push Manual are the harriers from Oldham County. They are a young group (only one senior in the top 5) who have a fire to best their counterparts from region 3. Costa Arpinelli is a welcome addition to the team and has quickly made herself a player in the state individual title run. She has the best time run at the Horse Park this season with an 18:45.70 and has a season best of 18:24.00. She is backed up by Rachel Gibson, Savannah Cagle, and Katy Chapman. The runner to watch in my opinion is Anna Constant. She has the capability to be closer to her teammates, but in the season bests she is about 25 seconds behind the 4th runner. If she can work her way into the race with the 2-3-4 runners for Oldham County, they can work as a pack and give a serious run at the team title.
The perrenial powers from Bardstown Road are in the mix again. With a 4th place finish last year, Barry Haworth's squad returns their #1 in Sarah Michels as well as Bailey Masterson and Lauryn Grady. The addition of Taylor White and Sarah Whalen make this group one to watch. They are battled tested as they have run some of the biggest meets in the region. They have travelled to Palatine in Illinois, Great American in North Carolina, Manahattan Invitational in New York as well as the Trinity/Valkyrie and Rumble Through the Jungle. There is not a more well travelled team that has faced more top tier competition as the Assumption Rockets. This should prove helpful as they tackle the biggest meet of the season.
The Panthers from Daviess County were state champions two seasons ago. Four of their top five runners from their third place team last year return to race another state meet. These ladies have experience as state champions and I am sure Coach Fortney has them hungry for more. They are led by junior Karlee Hoffman and Riliegh Owens. The most improved runner for Daviess County is by far Nicole Hemmersbach who will replace what they lost in the graduation of Olivia Wilson from last year's team. Nicole improved from a 20:59.99 last season to a 19:27.75 this season. Her emergence may give this group a chance to challenge for a top 2 finish with some good racing. Watch how these ladies run as a pack with a 3-4-5 runner split of only 3 seconds.
My head tells me to place Sacred Heart higher in these team finishes, but for some reason I am not listening. The Valkyries have a season best team 1-5 split of only 52.75 second but when they ran on this course earlier this season that split increased to 1:17. They do not have that front runner that many of the teams above them have, but they are solid. If any of these team scores get close, Sacred Heart will win the tiebreaker as they have a 6th runner that is right there with the 3-4-5 runners. Katelyn Cornett is their #1 but Kathryn Seay is not far off. If I am wrong here and this team climbs into the top 3, I will not be surprised. They have the makings of a great state team purely due to their pack running and ability to pass other teams in mass. Watch out for these ladies!