The Class AA Girls State Championship has a locked down team race and sibling battle for the individual title at 12:15 pm. South Oldham girls will be going for their fourth title in a row and the odds are that a Ms. Karas will win on Saturday.
Last fall the top two runners in Class AA were Caterina Karas (Collins) and Jenna Rogers (Christian Academy). They went back and forth beating each other setting up expectations of a nice dual in the Class AA State Meet. Caterina Karas showed up last fall and lit the course on fire winning with ease and running what became the Kentucky State Record of 18:11 in the process. Karas looked like a runner who had no rivals that day. One year later, Caterina comes into the season as the favorite. She starts the season out well, but another runner pops up as a threat to the Class AA title, 7th grader, and little sister, Gabriella. In late September, Gabriella finished third right behind AAA favorites Cassidy Hale (duPont Manual) and Whitney O’Bryan (Daviess County) at the Franklin County Invitational beating Caterina by nearly a minute. On October 23rd at the South Oldham Dragon Invitational, Gabriella demolished the field with a best time of 18:01 beating Caterina by 47 seconds. Last week at the Region 3 Championship much of the same was expected, but the veteran Caterina came through with the big win passing her sister mid race to win by eight seconds. After two seasons of this, either Caterina is sand-bagging the races all season long or she just shows up when it counts. Either way, the race between these two is going to be intense on Saturday. Can the youth of Gabriella surpass the crafty experience of Caterina?
The battle for third is between frosh Aleja Grant (Paducah Tilghman) and 8th grader Lauren Ossege (Highlands.) Grant has been lights out in far western Kentucky this fall dominating the competition. Ossege has won the races she entered in northern Kentucky and has fought tough competition at meets like the Lexington Catholic Invitational (3rd in small school race.) This has the signs of a battle that will be lasting for a few years. Grant likes to start hard and Ossege will get to front, look for both to be with the Karas sisters through the mile at least.
The individual race will collide with the team race after that as the South Oldham crew will start to roll in. South Oldham and their really tough front three of Grace Whitworth, Keightley Dudgeon, and Erin Wilson should all easily be in the top ten. The question is not will the team win but by how many points. That will be decided by the Orrender sisters (Kami and Kassidy) and Alex Gilliland. As South Oldham’s 4-6, they should all be in the top forty.
The battle for second is between Martha Layne Collins and North Oldham. Collins has the 1-2 punch up front, but struggles at #5. North Oldham has a solid pack but will most likely not have anyone come across the line in the top twenty. The second place score should be fairly high.