The Fern Creek Relays is not your typical cross-country meet. This one of a kind meet features teammates pairing up with each other, and each of them running three 1600 meter legs of the race, giving each of them a three mile total for the day. The middle school race sets up the same way, with runners completing 800-meter legs instead of the mile.
The day kicked off with the boys’ middle school race, as the duo from Bullitt East (Clint Sherman & Matt Wheeler) led from the beginning to dominate in the splintering heat and take home first place. The tandem from Notre Dame middle school came in next as they achieved runner-up (Keeton Thornsberry & Josh Mieman.) The girls’ middle school race came next, and the YMCA showed what they could do. The first leg had the YMCA coming in first, second, and third, setting up a dominant performance. The remainder of the race left the three YMCA teams in the top four as a Bullitt East tandem jumped into the top three, only for the YMCA to storm back on the last leg to finish in first, second, and third with Bullitt East close behind in fourth. The duo of Alena Sapienza-Wright & Catherine Sullivan won in 16:54 followed by Carmen Harper & Lucy Westlake.
The boys’ high school race was a battle against not only the clock but also the heat. The race began with Manual’s Darius Payne coming in with a first mile split of 4:48 on the hills of Charlie Vettiner Park in the blazing heat. Manual was followed closely by Male’s Spencer Barrios, who ran a 4:54 of his own, marking the only two sub-5 minute miles of the day. Combos from Bullitt East, Oldham County, and Manual stayed in the hunt through the first leg. The middle of the race created separation between the leaders and the rest of the field. Manual continued to lead with Male closely behind, but the rest of the contenders seemed to fall back. Going into the last exchange things remained the same, with another Manual duo pushing towards the leaders. Coming around the final turn towards the final stretch, Manual was not only in first but had control over second place as well. The winning time was a remarkable 32:07 (Darius Payne & Austin Snider) followed by a 32:25 (Cyrus Henry & Reed McKinley), with Male coming in third place with a 32:30 (Tyler Klain & Kristoffe Wilson). The field was rounded out by strong appearances by Bullitt East in fourth, Oldham County in fifth, and Christian Academy in sixth.
The girls’ race provided some strong showings from a couple different schools. Oldham County and Bullitt East looked good early on, with each of their lead legs running sub-6 while also having other runners towards the front of the pack. The lead pack proved consistent as Oldham County and Bullitt East controlled the top of the field, while tandems from Presentation and Christian Academy also stayed in the mix. The finish was nothing short of exciting, as Bullitt East and Oldham County battled down the final stretch only for Oldham County’s Caroline Grogan & Kati Heil to take home the victory with a time of 36:40 as Presentation's Caroline Grosser & Emily Flaherty combo placed a close second with a time of 36:41. The top 5 was rounded out by Bullitt East coming in third and fifth to give them a very strong showing with three teams in the top five, as well as Oldham County placing a duo in fourth to give them two sets of top finishers, even with one of their top relay teams not finishing the race.