The KTCCCA Meet of Champions will be held tomorrow in Lexington, Kentucky. This meet is the host of the Kentucky Middle School and Elementary State Championships. There will be high school races as well, but the focus has to rest on the younger crowd. These races give us a glance at the best runners of the next few years. Current top runners such as Maddox Patterson (Sayre), Amelia Reynolds (College View/Daviess County), Chase Geary (Muhlenberg County), Tretez Kinnaird (Johnson Traditional/Butler), and James Brown (Bell County) all have won the Middle School State Championship over the last four years.
Middle School Boys
Normally each year there is one runner that stands out as the clear favorite going into 4K race. Finishing 7th last year, North Oldham’s Trenton Fryman looks to be the target for the competition. He has had a stellar season including wins at the Greater Louisville Classic over many of the best middle school runners in the state. He has only one defeat on the year with that being the first race of the year at the Tiger Run. Spencer Hayden of St. Albert the Great beat Fryman by one second to claim victory in August. That fact alone makes Hayden a threat to win on Saturday as well.
Others to watch out for are the best in their particular areas. Josh Hannon (St. Henry) has taken northern Kentucky by storm this fall. He has three victories under his belt including the Grant County Invitational. Koby Gossett (College View) is the best from the always strong Owensboro area with victories at the Apollo Invitational last week along with four others this season. Christian Wright (Central Hardin) leads the Elizabethtown area teams into the championship. The Dowdy brothers (Cole and Tanner) of East Oldham should be with the lead pack. All season long, Cole has been just behind Fryman. Josh Grogan of Northeast YMCA looked strong at the Lexington Catholic Invitational two weeks ago with his victory.
In what is a rarity, this race will be dominated by runners who have strictly competed in middle school races. North Oldham and College View look to battle for the team title.
Middle School Girls
While the boy’s race is limited on varsity level runners as threats to win, the girls race is loaded. Class AA #1 Gabriella Karas has dominated this season regardless of level of competition. She is coming off a personal best time of 18:01 for 5000 Meters at the Dragon Invitational two weeks ago. She won the Trinity Invitational 3K race by 27 seconds in late September. She was the Elementary State Champion last year and looks to add the middle school title Saturday. She will receive competition other varsity runners the likes of Lauren Ossege (Highlands) who has been right up there as a top five runner in the Class AA herself, focusing only high school 5Ks this season. Brittney Hansen is part of Bowling Green front five that is currently ranked #2 in Class AAA. She has shifted gears here of late with wins the last two weeks in a row at the middle school level. Olivia Nienaber of Bishop Brossart is another athlete who has mainly ran high school, where as Pulaski County’s Alyssa Hayden has mixed it up with both middle school and high school races. They will all be in the mix Saturday trying to cover the 4K distance.
As far as middle school only runners, there are several who will contend for the win. The girl who caught early season attention was Michaela Reinhart of St. John, she was running times that were faster than the boys winner at the same invitational. Two weeks ago, in her only defeat of the season Reinhart was beaten by Holy Spirit’s Megan Buechler, who leads the catholic contention from Louisville. Buechler was second to Karas at the Trinity Invitational. Maddie Covey of EJ Hayes is the best Lexington and will look to be one of the best in the state as well. Nicole Grendi of St. Francis in Goshen will be close to the front either in the MS or Elementary school race, depending on which she runs. Presley Warren (Holy Name) will be in the same boat as Grendi, depending on which race she runs.
East Oldham will dual with their cross county foe North Oldham for the Middle School Team Title.