More than 300 high school runners are signed up for the Shelby County Invitational. Let's run down the top contenders!
Casey DeSilvey starts with the best seed time at 16:07.80, which earned him a second-place finish at the Mid-Kentucky Athletic Conference Championships last October. The Spencer County sophomore kicked off his campaign with a 16:38.81 in the Central Kentucky Run for the Gold two weeks ago. A win here would be the first of his career at 5,000 meters; he finished third in this event last season (17:08.55).
Josiah Claunch (Highlands Latin) and Eli Maraman (Butler) are up next. Claunch, a junior, ran a 15:55.91 in the KytrackXC.com 5K Showdown during the spring; his fastest cross time, 16:32.89, came in the 2021 Tiger Run. This is his first race of the fall and will be his 5K debut on the course.
Josiah Claunch's 5K Showdown
After completing this event, Maraman will have raced as many times as he did last fall. The senior's seed time - 16:39.44 - was earned early during his sophomore season. He's yet to break 17 minutes since then and will try for his first sub-18 minute run of the season on Saturday. Maraman's racing for the third straight weekend.
Jon Eades (Western Hills) and Oubry Gibson (Butler) round out the sub-17 minute seed times. Eades (16:52.97) ran that at last season's KHSAA Class 2A Cross Country Championship, and got close to it (16:56.35) in his only race this season, the Central Kentucky Run for the Gold, and has now broken 17 minutes in three of his last four races.
Gibson's 16:53.01 in last year's Tiger Run is the only sub-17 minute time of his career, but he's been a consistent top-10 finisher throughout. He got within 12 seconds of that at the 2022 Tiger Run last week (17:05.49).
Seed leader Emma Endress (Butler) set a PR in last year's Tiger Run, finishing fifth with an 18:42.81. Her time in this season's Tiger Run wasn't close to her top (20:24.06) but was two minutes faster than her first race of the season. Endress won last year's Shelby County Invitational (19:08.87) and had a runner-up showing in 2019.
Bullitt East's Savannah Mooney is nearest to Endress following a career effort in last weekend's Tiger Run, where the freshman finished fourth with a time of 18:57.14. It was the first time she broke 19 minutes. Teammate Alex Egan boasts the third fastest seed time (19:15.81) and ran 25th in the Tiger Run (20:35.79). Both were top-10 placers in last year's Shelby.
Four of the next seven girls on the seed list - all with sub-20 minute times - are making their season debut. They are: Emma Kendall (Collins, 19:24.91), Haley Schoenegge (Kentucky Country Day, 19:19.10), Cate Conklin (Lexington Catholic, 19:42.50) and Joanna Bryant (Lexington Catholic, 19:49.66).
Rebecca Kainer (Trimble County), now a junior, set her PR (19:42.31) in eighth grade and has run below 20 minutes just one other time since. Lilliana Greathouse (West Jessamine) is a freshman who set her mark (19:48.03) with a third-place finish at last year's KHSAA Region 7 Class 3A meet. Trimble County's Kinley Kunkel earned her seed time (19:54.13) and first high school victory during a similar event in Shelby County as a sophomore in 2020.
A condensed and modified version of this event - the Shelby County Series - was held after the full event was canceled due to COVID-19.
Jacob Thomson (Louisville Holy Cross) and Michaela Reinhart (Lexington Catholic) own the meet and venue records. Thomson set the boys' mark, 16:00.74, in 2010, while Reinhart's time, 18:08.53, came six years later.
Max Young is the top challenger for the host Rockets. He enters with the sixth best seed time (17:16.85) and ran 56th (17:32.75) at the Run for the Gold on Aug. 20, his only race this fall.
Reinhart just finished up a terrific career at Duke, where she racked up multiple All-ACC honors.
The five fastest middle school boys' times: Mark Reinhart (St. John School, 11:06.64); Connor Yenshaw (Eminence, 12:09.97); Connor Marx (North Oldham Middle School, 12:22.19); Ty Klingenberg (Oldham County Middle School, 12:23.10); and Levi Gay (North Oldham Middle School, 12:25.38).
The five fastest middle school girls' times: Phica Masters (North Oldham Middle School, 13:05.84); Matti Tillett (Eminence, 13:23.01); Victoria Spiegl (Eminence, 13:35.73); Sophia Shenk (North Oldham Middle School, 13:44.16); and Lacy Todnem (North Oldham Middle School, 13:48.73).