Running Scared Not an Option at the Haunted Woods Classic


Spooky season hasn't officially started until the first gun fires at the Haunted Woods Classic, and this year's event promises a ghoulishly good time.

The scariest competition on the boys' side comes by way of St. Xavier, which has entered four of the top 11 seed times into this year's competition in Buckner. Senior Sami Hattab paces the field with a 15:24.10, offered up in his last 5K nearly a month ago. His PR came in the Trinity/Valkyrie Invitational on Sept. 17, but he's ran one more time since: he set a 3-mile PR (14:45.40) earning a second-place finish in Illinois' Palatine Meet of Champions Invitational the following week.

Hattab's best 5K time is the fourth best time in Kentucky this season. Not far behind him on that list is Adam Patel of North Oldham, whose seed time of 15:35.12 is seventh in the state and second on the Haunted Woods Classic entry list. Patel's approached that time in his two outings since, running 15:41.40 in the Trinity/Valkyrie Invitational and 15:38.40 last weekend in an Ohio meet. The junior is in search of his first career victory in the 5K; where better to break the tape than in Oldham County?

Spencer County's Casey DeSilvey is entered with a seed time of 16:07.80, set last fall. He ran a sub-16:30 time for the first time since then at the Hillbilly Run on Sept. 24 (16:19.66). It'll be fun to see if he's able to continue at the pace; a similar effort could signal a strong finish to his sophomore season.

Five others boast sub-16:30 seed times, all posted this fall. Kaden Wancket (St. Xavier, 16:15.10) and Roman Sierpina (Louisville Collegiate, 16:18.18) round out the top five. Thomas Weber (St. Xavier) barely trails Sierpina (16:18.70) while AJ Kern (South Oldham, 16:20.70) and Jared Sandfoss (CKY Homeschool, 16:21.20) are behind him.

Of that lot, Wancket is the name with which you might need to most familiarize yourself. He's a freshman, and that time is the fastest by any 2026 runner in the state this season. Here's guessing he'll be near the top of seed lists for a long time to come.

Fearsome Fawbush

As of last week, Oldham County junior Tula Fawbush has a sub-18 minute time to her credit. She's the only junior in the state who can say that - frightening, indeed, for the rest of the field as she prepares for her home meet.

Fawbush ran 17:42.60 in the Saturday Night Lights 17th, the same Ohio meet where Patel thrived last weekend. Before that, her best time of the fall was 18:22.74, at the Central Kentucky Run for the Gold on Aug. 20. That time, as well as her third best time in 2022, is faster than any of the best times ever run by other girls in this field.

Closest on the seed list are Abigail Crask (South Oldham) and Emma Endress (Butler). Neither has run a sub-19 minute time in 2022. Crask, a sophomore who finished a spot ahead of Fawbush here last season, PR'd in a KHSAA regional (18:38.32) a couple weeks after last year's Haunted Woods Classic. Endress, a senior, hasn't run faster than 20 minutes this season but has shaved nearly two minutes off her time since the fall started. 

Caroline Mooney, a seventh-grader out of Bullitt East, could pose the biggest threat to Fawbush. Her third-place time in the Hillbilly Run (18:45.12) is the 12th fastest mark in the state this season and is by far the best time at her grade level. This will be the third 5K of her career.

The seed times of junior Bethany Simpson (Bourbon County, 18:48.70) and freshman Gracie Reed (Barren County, 18:50.99) were registered in past seasons. Simpson's came as an eighth-grader in a KHSAA regional; until a strong effort (18:57.40) last weekend at the Saturday Night Lights 17th, she hadn't posted a sub-19 minute mark since then. Reed's time was achieved early last fall but she's been within striking distance of it in just about every race this season.

Bullitt East freshman Savannah Mooney rounds out the sub-19 minute seeds. She ran 18:57.14 at this season's Tiger Run. That's the third fastest in-season time by anyone in the field.

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