Numerous Kentucky athletes participated in the Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championships held Saturday, November 20th at Masterson Station Park. Competing against many of the best teams and individuals in the United States, Kentucky kids fared quite well on a beautiful Saturday. As has been the case the past few years, the Brocaw Blazers, a large club that brought more than 170 runners from several states, dominated several races in the meet.
It was a little chilly at 9 am for the first race of the day, the 15-16 girls. Kids from Derby City and Runawayz joined forces with Team Kentucky to take on the Brocaw juggernaut in the race. In what turned out to be a tactical error for team scoring, the first girl across the line for Team Kentucky was Hancock County Junior Drema Johnson, running a PR of 20:07 on the hilly course. Due to a sore ankle, Drema wasn’t even sure she was going to run during the warmup for the race, but thought she’d give it a shot. Sara Sargent of Philadelphia CYO won the race in a blazing fast 18:08. Scorers for Team Kentucky were Walton-Verona’s Madison Peace (20:17), Amy Hansan (20:45), Bell County’s Kelly Brown (20:56), Fairview’s Brooklyn Bowen (21:15), and Male’s Lauren Bennett (21:19). Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to view it, Team Kentucky’s place would not have changed if Johnson’s 19th place finish counted, as Brocaw took first and third and Jenks America took 2nd in the team battle.
Brocaw also dominated the 15-16 boys race, taking 6 of the top 10 spots, with Jenks America in 2nd once again. But the real battle in this race was for 3rd place between Derby City and Runawayz. Derby City, led by Oldham County Junior Luke Weishar was solidly ahead at the halfway point in the race, but Runawayz, led by Chase Geary of Muhlenberg County, made up a lot of ground and took the team podium spot in the last mile. Weishar’s 16:15 was good for 4th place, while Geary finished 6th in 16:34. Zac Garrard of Owensboro finished 17th, just ahead of Daniel Southard of Daviess County, both clocking 17:09. The fourth and fifth men for Runawayz were Jeff Keeley of Owensboro in 28th in 17:42, and Daviess County’s Nelson Dant 29th in 17:44. Also running for Derby City were Butler Freshman Patrick Gregory, who finished 12th, in 16:52, with Eastern’s Holden Wells in 13th in a time of 17:03, Forest Dearing of Walden in 17:47, and Braxton Hall of Oldham County in 18:35. Sye Head of Logan County, running for Team Kentucky, finished 15th, with a time of 17:07.
Those watching the 17-18 girls saw an incredible performance by Samantha Nightingale of Blue Springs, Missouri, running for Brocaw, who toured the hilly Masterson Station course in 17:30. The week before, Nightingale finished second at the NXN Midwest Regional in a time of 17:51 on the tough Lavern Gibson Course, and is ranked 17th nationally by Milesplit. Brocaw once again dominated the race, taking first and second place in the team standings. The Team Kentucky seniors, led by Amanda Hancock in 7th, with a time of 18:51, finished third. Also scoring for Team Kentucky were South Oldham’s Hannah Ellis (19:42) and Jessie Murner (19:48) finishing 12th and 13th, followed by Muhlenberg County’s Hooper twins in in 14th and 16th, with times of 19:57 and 20:19.
Sean Hurd led the Team Kentucky Seniors to a third place finish in the 17-18 boys race, by finishing third in a time of 15:52. He was followed by Zac Holtkamp of Bishop Brossart in 5th (16:00), Jon Renneker of Ashland Blazer 9th (16:22), South Oldham’s Austin Pfeifer in 17th (16:40), and Alex White of George Rogers Clark in 19th with a time of 16:48. Team Kentucky was a close third in the race behind two teams from Brocaw.
Next up was the girls age 4-8 2000 meter race. Seven year old Jett Bradley led Derby City was the first girl from Kentucky across the line, finishing 8th in a time of 8:48. Derby City garnered 4th place as a team, with Madeline Powell in 24th, Ellie Poole in 27th, Chloe Bramble in 35th, and Ryle Kirschenbaum in 37th. Abby Jones, running for Team Kentucky, finished 9th, in a time of 8:50.
Riggs Hardy, 8, finished 3rd in the boys race in a time of 8:01. Jason King of Kentucky Stampede finished 6th in 8:04, and Zavion Jackson of Team Kentucky finished 15th in 8:27. Hammer Athletics finished 4th as a team, led by Thor Newsome in 16th place.
Presley Warren of Henderson Holy Name, running for Runawayz, was the first Kentucky girl to finish in the 9-10 girls race, in a time of 12:48. Gomah Nodler finished 16th for Kentucky Stampede, breaking the 13 minute mark in 12:59, followed by Avery Fryman of Derby City in 17th, and Taylor Limprevil of Kentucky Stampede in 18th. Derby City finished 4th out of 11 teams to compete in the race, and Runawayz was 7th.
Derby City finished strong in the boys 9-10 race, taking 2nd as a team. They were led by Matthew Craven in 9th (12:12). Garrett Watts of Team Kentucky finished 13th in a time of 12:16. Gabriel Michalak (12:16) and Keeton Thornsberry (12:22) of Derby City finished 15th and 16th.
The 11-12 girls race is usually one of the most hotly contested races at the meet, and this year was no exception. Philadelphia CYO took the team title, by a slim 4 points over Derby City, and both in front of a loaded group from Team Kentucky. Gabby Karas of Derby City finished 2nd in the race in a super fast 11:19. After running side-by-side wit Karas through the first mile, Highland’s Lauren Ossege, running for Team Kentucky, finished 5th in a time of 11:32. Michaela Reinhart of Derby City placed 9th in a time of 11:49, and Erin Edmundson, running for Kentucky Stampede, finished 11th, just under 12 minutes in 11:57. Meghan Carrico, (15th), Madison Spencer (18th), and Megan Buechler (19th) also scored for Derby City. Madisyn Peeples, Sydney Ossege, and Olivia Nienaber finished 21, 22, and 23rd for Team Kentucky, followed by Fairview’s Lyndsey Burke in 27th. Greenwood’s Brittney Hansen of Runawayz finished 25th in a time of 12:13.
Derby City nailed down the boys 11-12 title led by Trenton Fryman in 2nd in a time of 10:49. Spencer Hayden was close behind, in 7th place with a time of 11:12. Michael Sheets gave Derby City 3 runners in the top 11 with his time of 11:18. Elliott Wells of Runawayz finished 13th in 11:19. Close behind him was Logan Otter of Kentucky Stampede in 15th place (11:24). Joshua Grogan in 16th (11:25) and Nathan Sheets (11:44) in 36th rounded out the scoring for Derby City.
Brocaw won the 13-14 girls race, led by multiple national champion Rebekah Topham with a new course record of 14:33.51. Runawayz took second among 14 teams, with a tight pack led by Amelia Reynolds of Daviess County in 13th (15:54). She was followed by Bowling Green’s Sarah-Emily Woodward in 15th (15:56), Owensboro Catholic’s Oliva Cason in 16th (15:58), Evansville, Indiana Memorial’s Taylor Warren in 20th(16:08) and Owensboro’s Rachel Keeley in 31st (16:22). Running for Team Kentucky, Fairview’s Haley Layne (16:05) and Katie Richard (16:13) finished 18th and 26th, respectively.
Although Team Kentucky assembled a very strong team for the 13-14 boys race, Brocaw continued it dominance of the older age groups, winning easily with five of its runners in the top 10. Jenks America finished second, and Team Kentucky third, led by Cooper’s Brady Baker’s 9th place finish (13:43). Bishop Brossart’s Michael Caldwell finished 12th in 13:53, followed in 16th place by Lincoln County’s Brian Carlson in 14:03 and Highland’s John Griffith in 14:08. Tanner Dowdy’s 14:21 24th place finish led Kentucky Stampede to an 8th place finish in the team standings, and Grant Carpenter’s 14:35 34th place finish helped to carry Runawayz to 7th overall.