Class AA Boys is up next at 11:30am and with what looks like on paper one of the surest races of the day. North Oldham will look to win their second team title in a row and third in four years. Bell County senior James Brown, long one of the best in Class AA, will look to win his first career state title.
The Class AA competition season has been all over the place. Early on it looked as though the individual race was wide open with Brown, Nicholas Laureano (Lexington Catholic), and Taylor Sanders (North Oldham) being the favorites. Since the last part of September, Brown has clearly made himself the target to win with big time races at the Trinity Invitational and at the Great American Cross Country Festival. Brown has even bettered the surging Cody Parks of East Jessamine by over 30 seconds this season on a few occasions. The one name that Brown still needs to watch in the rear view for is Laureano. Laureano looked great early with a sub 16 at Tiger Run and Grant County. He then had some injury issues and fell back some. He has returned strong with a 16:06 at the Area 6 Championship and won last week’s regional with a 16:43. Look for Brown to get out hard and see who follows through the mile. Brown has sub-16 ability on the Horse Park course and that is something the rest of the field cannot say.
After Brown and Laureano there should be a dual between Sanders and Parks. Sanders is looking to win the team title, so he is running more for place than time on Saturday. Sanders is a veteran in the top five, whereas Parks is new as one of the top runners, so strategy will be key for both. The next group is large and should stick together, runners such as Caleb Chappell (South Oldham), Leonard Faul (South Oldham), Tyler Thompson (North Oldham), Sye Head (Logan County), Jon Ashby (Webster County) Cody Collins (East Jessamine), and Gavin Knies (Lexington Catholic) are just a few of the names that should attempt to fill out the top 10.
On paper the team title looks to be locked down by North Oldham. They have Sanders up front who is looking to win his third team title in his high school career. He has gotten past the injury concerns that plagued him early in his career and has had a solid season including a 16:10 last week at the Region 3 Championship. The rest of the cast are inexperienced sophomores. Normally this could be cause for concern, but these sophomores have run like veterans all year and have been super consistent. Tyler Thompson, Luke Tarvestad, Nolan Ruhs, and Matt Powers will look to all finish in the top twenty Saturday leaving no chance for a another team to sneak in there. This will be Head Coach Drew LaMaster’s last state title run as he will be stepping down after the season.
The battle for second is between Lexington Catholic, Covington Catholic, Martha Layne Collins, and Edmonson County. Lexington Catholic has an advantage with possibly the lowest scoring front three with Laureano, Knies, and Joe Richey. Covington Catholic, Collins, and Edmonson County should fill up the top forty of this race.