Assumption and St. Xavier are Top in Class 3A Going to State


The Top Challengers

1. Ciara O'Shea: In the history of Kentucky cross country, no school has won more than four consecutive individual titles. An unprecedented achievement is the most significant thing at stake for O'Shea as she seeks her fifth straight crown against a competition field that's had no answer for her in the last two seasons. The Madison Central senior has finished outside of first in a Kentucky competition just once in the last two years, and has lost only two such meets, period, since she was in seventh grade. We can only hope that the fastest girl in the state's history can give us one last incredible 5K to enjoy.

2. Jessica Secor: The Dupont Manual senior is the only runner in this field who can say she's beaten O'Shea. That distinction came on Oct. 10, 2020, when she crossed the finish line 6.1 seconds before O'Shea at the Haunted Woods Classic. Her best career time (17:33.40) came earlier this month, and happened during a three-race stretch in which she posted sub-18 minute marks prior to the KHSAA Region 3 meet. Her winning time there, 18:29.06, earned her the third seed at state. She's seeking her third top-five finish at state after a disappointing 17th-place time last season (20:15.93).

3. Tula Fawbush: She's been the runner-up each of the last two seasons, meaning she'd be a two-time champion if not for a generational talent in the senior class. Fawbush, a junior out of Oldham County, likely will have to wait one more year for a legit title shot. She ran a 17:42.60 PR earlier this month but is seeded just outside of the top 10 with a fifth-place time (19:12.14) in Region 4.

4. Chesney McPherson: With an average finish time of 18:20.74 in six races, the Barren County junior is one of the most consistent performers in Class 3A this season. Last weekend she won for the first time since early September, taking KHSAA Region 2 with a time (18:28.20) that earned her the No. 2 seed on this event's performance list. McPherson has yet to perform at a marquee level here - her best finish was last year, 43rd (20:54.53) - but this will be her fifth trip to state and third on the current course.

5. Addison Moore: It might be a touch too early to put such high expectations on the Woodford County freshman, but she's got the eighth best time in Class 3A this fall (18:19.12) and is seeded fourth after a strong region-winning time (18:31.20). Moore finished 11th in sloppy conditions last year after running third as a seventh grader behind O'Shea and Fawbush. Here's guessing she'll return to form in better weather.

Teams to Know

1. Assumption: Sophomore Reagan Gilmore could have been mentioned above; she was the first of four Rockets who crossed the finish line before Fawbush last weekend in their regional. She ran 18:31.51 there, good for the fifth seed here. Assumption is the reigning state champ, but the margin between it and last year's runner-up was thin, and will be again this weekend.

2. Dupont Manual: I present to you last year's runner-up. The Crimsons' average time of completion is a bit faster than Assumption's - 18:43.70 to 18:47.46 - and their average point total is virtually the same (120 to 111). Three top-15 finishers made the biggest difference last year for Assumption; Manual had no runners in the top 15.

3. Oldham County: The Colonels were in the conversation for runner-up last season, finishing six points behind Manual thanks to a pair of top-15 finishers. They're a touch slower, on average, this season, but still outpace the nearest competition (Madison Central and South Warren) by a wide enough margin to feel comfortable slotting them as a top-three contender.