Unlike the other two classes this year, AAA brings back its individual champion in Chase Geary of Muhlenberg County. There is no question he is still a threat to repeat, but he faces possibility the most depth of top talent in AAA in many years. Let's take a look at who is out there in Class AAA.
Chase Geary has one big advantage over most of AAA every fall, he is kind of a mystery in November. Muhlenberg County sits 90 miles southwest of Elizabethtown off of the Western Kentucky Parkway nowhere near the Louisville crowd. He ran races throughout the west last fall winning everywhere he went. Track season saw him run a 9:28 3200m for 3rd in Class AAA at the state track meet. His track times were hindered some by pulling double duty in the spring. He showed talent off the track as a state qualifier in Bass Fishing. He finished 31st in the 1st Annual KHSAA Bass Fishing State Championship April 26th & April 27th just two weeks before the track regional. With fishing out of the way, XC should be back in focus.
The next big name is Patrick Gregory from Butler. The senior won his first state track individual title in Class AAA last May in the 1600m. He ran a 4:18.15 to win and then came back in a very tight race with St. Xavier's Connor Sheryak in the 3200m. Gregory came close to the double running 9:18.86 losing by .7 seconds. Gregory's last lap in that race was under 60 seconds showing speed even at the end of the race. He was 2nd behind Geary at the KY State XC Meet last fall setting up a very similar battle this year.
St. Xavier brings two threats to the table in Chris Striegel and Max Mudd. Both were key cogs to the NXN Southeast winning team last year but as 3 through 5 runners. They are now stepping up to lead the team and have times to back it up. Mudd is more of the speed guy running a 4:20.43, while Striegel is the distance guy with a 9:28.31 3200m and 15:12.34 5000m both last spring.
Another runner from the west is Daviess County's Daniel Southard. The school record holder at 3200m, which means something at a school with the history of Daviess. He ran a 9:15.43 for 3200m at Eastern Relays to finish as the 2nd runner from KY and 9th overall. He showed added strength this month when KYtrackXC.com visited Daviess County's practice, which will help in a foot race at the end against the speed of some of the other top runners.
John Spencer leads the AAA contingent out of Lexington. He is a 4:17 1600m runner himself and the AAA Runner-Up at 1600 meters at the state track meet. He ran only the 1600m last spring outside of the 800m once. He obviously focused heavily on speed which should help this fall. He was 9th overall at AAA State XC last year.
Like stated above, depth at the top is tremendous. Others to watch out for include a couple from Pulaski County (Jimmy Goldson 1:55 800m & Mason Blevins 9:33 3200m), Holden Wells from Eastern, Keith Prive from Greenwood, Brady Baker from Cooper, Nolan Gerlach of Conner, new AAA additions Tanner & Cole Dowdy of South Oldham, and Tristan Durbin from Apollo. Finishing 15th in Class AAA this year will be a big accomplishment with the talent at the top.